Houston Community News >> Chinese Scholars Call for Mother's Day With Chinese Characteristics

5/12/2007 JINAN (Xinhua) -- As many people around the world celebrate Mother's Day on Sunday, a Chinese scholar and member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) has made it his mission to create China's own Mother's Day festival.

Li Hanqiu, a memeber of the CPPCC National Committee, believes that the second day of the fourth Lunar month, which falls on May 18 this year, should be the day when mothers are honored in China as it coincides with the birth date of fourth century BC Confucian philosopher Mencius, whose mother is regarded as being synonymous with maternal devotion and love.

Li has called for the traditional western gift of carnations to be changed to day lilies, which in ancient times were planted by mothers in their courtyards as a sign of sorrow at their children leaving home.

"In a country with a deeply-rooted tradition of filial piety, we should have our own occasion for people to express love for mothers according to Chinese customs," Li said.

Li has founded a non-government organization called the "Chinese Mothers' Festival Promotion Society" with the support of around 100 Confucian scholars and lecturers of moral ethics.

The society plans to celebrate its first Chinese Mother Festival on May 18 in Shijiazhuang, north China's Hebei Province.

"This is our first year and the celebration will only be held in Zoucheng (city in Shandong Province) and Shijiazhuang, but we believe it will be accepted by more Chinese people at home and abroad if it is conducive to revitalizing our traditional culture of piety," said Li.

In a collaboration between Li and the local government, work has begun on a theme park of maternity culture in Zoucheng, the birthplace of Mencius.

"Even though the western Mother's Day is becoming more and more popular worldwide, countries like France, Egypt, South Korea, Portugal and Indonesia are all celebrating their own mother's days in their own ways," said Lu Zonghai, secretary of Li's society.

"In China, the Mother Festival should have deeper cultural meanings, rather than just being about business," Lu said, "which is why we want it on a different day."

According to Li, the society plans to bombard a million students in 100 cities with pamphlets advocating filial piety over the next few years.

"To ensure the festival is entrenched in Chinese society may bean arduous process, but it is definitely worth trying, because it is an attempt to revitalize our traditional culture that is being left behind," said Chen Xuxia, an academician with Hebei Academy of Social Sciences.

(Contributed by Xinhua)