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Mother’s Day: How to Celebrate it Better

2019 May 10

It’s Mother’s Day and all the good boys and girls are stressing out about what to do to show Ammi how much they appreciate her.

However, we all know how stressful it can be. Mother’s Day has turned into bad Christmas for mums. There are a lot of expectations and hopes leading up to it but when the day actually comes about things don’t always go as planned.

Mother’s Day is all about appreciating that special lady in your life but with all the brunch reservations, expensive flowers, and weird perfumes, this holiday feels more like a bad Secret Santa for someone you care about.

Let’s start with a little bit of history

The Romans did it first!

Festivals celebrating mothers and motherhood have been around since the very beginning of society. Mother’s Day as we know it was started off as “Mothering Sunday” (I see you my fellow Anglicans) and it was in 1914 that Anna Jarvis made it an official holiday in the United States.

And this is when Mother’s Day became a “thing”

It was not until greeting card companies, florists, and others saw an opportunity over the next few years that they took the idea of Mother’s Day and ran with it. Thus, the holiday became all about giving your mum something. Be it a card, flowers or cake, Mother’s Day turned into an opportunity for businesses to sell stuff.

Things got so bad that Anna Jarvis was trying to get this holiday abolished till the day she died.

Here’s why the current context of Mother’s Day sucks.


It’s so stressful! Expectations have been built around the day, turning it into an obligation for many.


Things tend to get tacky! If you just take a look at all the Mother’s Day cards and gift options out there, they tend to be impersonal and not necessarily the best way to show your mother how much you truly care in a creative, personal way.

The effect of social media these days has a huge impact as well. Along with this, businesses have drilled expectations into our heads, leading to this simple truth: Mother’s Day is over-commercialized.

Mother’s Day as a Sri Lankan

In its essence, Mother’s Day is a very Western holiday but, post-colonisation, we have adopted many Western traditions so this holiday is part of our identity.
However, there is one very important thing to keep in mind. As opposed to the West, us Sri Lankans have a completely different dynamic with our families and especially our mothers and we need to keep this in mind when celebrating this special day. Try to remember: it’s about her, not how good the day ends up looking on your Insta stories!

As a nation, we are very, very close to our mothers and giving them a tacky card can be somewhat impersonal and awkward. If your mum is anything like mine, she will think that this is “boru wikara“.

That being said, Ammi deserves a holiday of her own and we need to do our best to make this day special for her.

However, there is a right way to do things

You don’t have to be good at it. Trust me, your mum will love it more than the three thousand rupee cake that you looked up online

Rather than going to the nearest florist or focusing only on “stuff”, spend some quality time with your mum and give her an experience that matters. Don’t worry, you don’t have to go out on a limb and make a seven-course meal and serenade your mum with a song you wrote. There are a lot of simple things that you can do that can make a big impact.

Give her time off her busy hectic schedule. Take time and do something with her that she truly loves. If you are out of ideas and have no idea what to do I’ve got one word for you: FOOD!

Experiences that deal with food have a special place in our hearts as Sri Lankans, so whether you are taking mum out for a nice meal or cooking for her yourself, or simply baking a cake, it’s the thought that counts. (You don’t have to be good at it. Trust me, your mum will love it more than the three thousand rupee cake that you looked up online). If it’s a gift, give her something she will truly cherish. If it’s a card, try to make it yourself! If what she needs is a break, gift her the holiday she deserves.

If you really want to do something special for your mum, focus on a personal and intimate experience. You still have time to do something so go ahead! She deserves it.