Image 1 of 10: In distinction to the West's marking of Mother's Day (March to May), depending where in the globe, the Arabs have carved out their own special day to celebrate mothers. March 21st follows the first day of Spring, the time of re-birth. So Arab mothers, who gave birth to us, are honored along with Mother Nature's awakening from the throes of winter.
Image 1 of 10: It is no coincidence that Arab Mother's Day falls on the Spring Equinox. Two Egyptian brothers chose the day to coincide with the first day of Spring, when the world is re-awakening & extolling mother nature. In spite of opposition from religious circles that cited paganism, and that everyday for good Muslims is mother's day, the tradition stuck.
Image 1 of 10: Arab Mothers' Spring: With the season of rebirth in mind, Arabs with their unique 'Spring' of revolutions since 2011, are striving for a regeneration of decaying Arab nations.
Image 1 of 10: Worried Arab mothers: Mother to Syria's tottering president Bashar al-Assad, Anisa Makhlouf, must be feeling the pangs of motherhood anew this Mothers' Day: As her son passes through a personal as well as international crisis, she could be forgiven for feeling maternal instincts of alarm.
Image 1 of 10: Mother of Saudi Women Spring? Brave & feisty Mother, Manal Al Sharif, gave birth to her boy as well as a whole 'driving' revolution for Saudi women. She risked it all to lead her countrywomen, strictly banned from driving, in June 2011 when she took to the wheel. Since then, female uprisings have sprouted, to include a recent Saudi woman casualty.
Image 1 of 10: The unwitting revolutionary Arab mother: Mannoubia Bouazizi could be considered the 'mother of the Arab revolutions' since she is the grieving mother of the late Mohamed Bouazzi who first caught fire, and set alight his Arab brothers.
Image 1 of 10: Fallen Mother: Safia Gaddafi, wife to the late Colonel Gaddafi, is one suffering mother this Spring. Having been widowed and deprived of many sons, now in exile, this cannot be an easy mother's day for the woman who lost everything: Libya and the father to her 3 dead sons.
Image 1 of 10: Falling, fretting Mother, Suzanne Mubarak: Egypt's first lady has also seen better Mother's Days. With her deposed, humiliated and bed-ridden husband on trial, standing for death penalty, as well as her two sons jailed, she awaits the fate that will be dealt to her family.
Image 1 of 10: Distressed Mother of Three, Leila Trabelsi: The former First Lady of Tunisia, once the president of the Arab Women Organization, should try to enjoy this Mother's Day while she can since this could be her last Mummy-time not behind bars. She is wanted by Interpol for high treason and money laundering.
Image 1 of 10: Celebrating Mother of Yemen, Tawakul Karman: The most admired Yemeni mother was hailed as a pioneering woman for Yemen and Arab women when she rose to prominence during Yemen's Revolution. The mother of three stands as the first Arab woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts for her country.
Mother's Day, as universally 'hallmarked' as it has become, is still celebrated on different calendar dates around the world. Arabs have earmarked their own date for this occasion. The Arab world has registered March 21st as its unique and fixed-dated 'Eid il Um'. This Spring Equinox date is not shared by the US and Canada's May-date, nor indeed the UK's rotating Mothering Sunday.
Why Spring time - a Vernal Mother's Day?
What is it with Arabs and Spring? Well it's not just Arabs being contrary, not even political, as it happens. It turns out it's no coincidence that the Arab Mother's day falls in line with the start of Spring time. Years ago, it was nominated the choice date for Middle Easterners to mark their appreciation for their mothers.
It goes back to the year 1956 when the legendary Amin brothers, Ali and Mustafa, called for a day to celebrate and honor mothers all over their homeland Egypt and the wider Arab world. The Amin brothers are remembered as being particularly devoted to their mother as well as her aunt, now regarded as the mother of all Egyptians, Safia Zaghlol. They regarded those that didn't share their mother values as 'ungrateful cruel children'. They chose the 21st of March because it is officially the first day of Spring. Presumably because the season of Spring symbolises new life and regeneration, thus honoring mother nature. We in turn honor the Mother who gave birth to us on this annointed day.
An Ever-Blossoming Maternal Bond
Arabs love their mothers without a doubt, as do our favorite Western celebrities, we were reminded just this week when George Clooney chose his Mother above all, using his single prison phone-call to ring his proud Mom.
Al Bawaba shifts its gaze from male Arab war-criminals, to the mothers of the Arab Spring. And the good tidings they bring to an oft' troubled Middle East.
In this photo line-up of Arab Mothers, we remind ourselves of the fallen, falling, concerned Ma-Ma's, as well as the proud and accomplished mothers of the region.
Who from these mothers reminds you most of your own Ma-Ma?
Al Bawaba invites you to share some of your favorite mother traits - Arab or not. Is it their cooking, their constant phone calls, maternal instinct or even perhaps their judging and nagging that you love the most?