On one hand, these objections rise out of a very real fear of consumerism. Mother's Day is, after all, one of the biggest spending holidays, and the holiday's founder, Ana Jarvis was was arrested for protesting an overly commercial Mother's Day Celebration in New York.
On the other hand, the desire to protect the "real" meaning of holidays arises from the same elitism that fuel debates about the "real" meaning of words. Language purists argue that people do not "share" on Facebook because sharing traditionally/technically "implies that one as the original holder grants to another the partial use, enjoyment, or possession of a thing." Sharing a slice of pie and distributing a video link, they argue, are two very different actions. I've heard a class of English majors explode with contempt for Alanis Morissette’s "Ironic." Nothing, they howl, in that song is ironic! They measure the song by a single, literary definition of irony. Undoubtedly "Ironic" is not ironic like Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" is ironic. Morissette does not the "use . . . words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning." She uses ironic like most folks use ironic in daily conversation: to describe "incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result." **
Holidays, like language, evolve. They change and grow with the people who celebrate them. Mother's Day emerges from the memories and experiences of people honoring their mothers, from a million tiny, personal traditions. Cards. Candy. Breakfast in bed. A white carnation. It's all good. It's all real.
|Mary Cassatt's "Breakfast in Bed"|
** Definitions from Merriam-Webster On-line