May 28, 2020
Being born and raised in New York City to a Dominican mother, I grew up knowing
she has to get special treatment on every holiday. Mother’s Day is no exception, and
for Dominican Americans, that comes around twice, yes twice, a year. Mother’s Day celebrations began in ancient Greece, with festivities in honor of Rhea, the mother of Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto.
Centuries later in America, Ana Jarvis of Philadelphia, after the death of her mother in 1905, wrote a letter to teachers, religious leaders, politicians, lawyers and others, to support her project of celebrating Mother’s Day on the anniversary of the death of her mother, the 2nd Sunday of May. Her letter was distributed so successfully that by 1910 Mother’s Day was already celebrated in almost all the states.
By 1914, President Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation that officially established the first national Mother’s Day holiday to celebrate America’s mothers, on the day Ana Jarvis intended. Little did Jarvis know her heartfelt letter would make other countries like Canada, most European countries, Australia, New Zealand, India, China, Japan, the Philippines and South Africa, follow suit. It’s a day intended to show appreciation towards mothers and mother figures worldwide. It is an annual event but is at different dates in the calendar, depending on the country.
In Dominican Republic, Trina de Moya, poet and wife of President Horacio Vásquez, who ruled the country from 1924 to 1930, is credited with making this an official holiday for the island. Her hymn in honor of mother’s is a tradition still cherished to this day:
Come the dwellers
of the countryside and the city,
with her sweet song
and we sing a hymn
of intense filial love!
Who like a mother with
her sweet song
mitigates our fear
calms our pain?
Trina De Moya
Recognized on the last Sunday in May, Mother’s Day in the Dominican Republic is proof of the country’s passion for life and celebrating special occasions. Instead of small gatherings of just mothers and their children, Dominican Mother’s Day history details a larger festive occasion. Entire families travel far and wide to honor multiple generations of mothers, as well as spend quality time with all family members by eating, drinking and dancing. The inherited celebrations of Dominicans all over the world may have to be adjusted for most while practicing social distancing during this Covid- 19 pandemic.
However, modern technology keeps us close even oceans apart. Flowers will be delivered, Whats App video calls will be made, y la mamá Dominicana will still be honored as always on