Mother’s Day in the Middle East

In the Middle East, Mother’s Day is celebrated on March 21st, not in May as is customary in the United States. As is expected nowadays, Arabs took to social media to praise their mothers including, of course, Arab celebrities. A good many of the Arab female chanteuses I follow on Instagram posted about the special day, many of them including photos of them with their own mothers.

Others took the opportunity to celebrate their own motherhood, posting pics of their adorable kids (observation: a lot of female celebs seem to have daughters who are blonde and blue-eyed, and, might I add, might grow up cuter than their mothers who have had tons of plastic surgery to look that good).

In Arab culture the name of one’s mother is somewhat seen as a “taboo;” women who have sons have the “honor” of being called “Um Mohammed,” “Um Ahmed,” “Um Farid,” um being the word for mother and the male name derived from their firstborn son. A woman who does not have any sons does not get this so-called honor. On Twitter a Youtube video posted by UN Women entitled “Give my Mother back her name” was circulated which shows Arab men being asked their mothers’ name, only to laugh and say that they couldn’t give it. The video is very touching and ends with the question “What’s in a name? Just ask a mother.” Female Twitterers seemed to like the idea, but male users seemed less likely. It is kind of odd that only Arab men were interviewed for the short, as I would have liked to have seen Arab women as well as mother’s reactions to this cultural tradition.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FF4ZslUqgDY

Elsewhere, the Arab media celebrated the day with laughs and good, if snarky, fun: Al-Bawaba website (which is like the Arab version of People magazine) posted a funny article featuring 7 “notorious” Arabs whose mothers are probably ashamed of them, including Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad and Jihadi John as well as Lebanese porn star Mia. Another article also on the same website played on the “Yo Mama!” jokes popular in the USA by creating “Yo Arab Mama” jokes, which were admittedly much more nicer and tame than American jokes, since insulting one’s mother, a bad idea in any culture, is sure to get one kicked in the derriere in the Middle East. I’ll end with my own lame Arab Mama jokes, based off my past experience with (not-so-friendly) Arab mothers.

“Yo Mama wants to post pictures of your newborn to Facebook before you even get the chance to” (an experience I overheard)

“Yo Mama like a hawk, she’ll ask you twenty times why you’re not finishing your plate, eating disorders be damned” (true story)

“Forget slippers: Yo Arab Mama so badass she takes out a pin and pokes you if you do something bad” (true story; I felt like crying along with the little kid when it happened)

S-L-M

Sources

1. http://www.albawaba.com/editorchoice/mothers-day-uae%E2%80%99s-sheikha-fatima-honored-%E2%80%98mother-arabs%E2%80%99-671742

2. http://www.albawaba.com/slideshow/yo-arab-mama-isprobably-gonna-feel-funny-after-reading-these-mom-jokes-happy-mothers-day-6

3. http://www.albawaba.com/slideshow/7-notorious-arabs-whose-mothers-should-be-disappointed-them-671142

4. Instagram

5. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2015/Mar-21/291688-lebanese-officials-mark-mothers-day-with-tributes.ashx

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