Spring Equinox: Is Mother’s Day for Palestinians

20 Mar

Palestinians celebrate Mother’s Day on March 21st, which generally marks the first day of spring, the resurrection of nature, and the budding of new creations.


Spring equinox is an astronomical phenomena that is determined by the movement of the sun that occurs between March 19th through March 21st. The specific date is determined when the sun crosses the celestial equator, and day and night are segmented equally at twelve hours. It signals seasonal change and the resurrection of nature.

However, the designation of March 21st  as the first day of spring was established in AD 325  by the  Council of Nicaea. It was set to usher the season of Lent leading to Easter in April.  For that reason, Palestinians celebrate Mother’s Day on March 21st  to signify the beginning of new life, new seeds, and the commencement of new creations.

On Mother’s Day, Palestinians honor their mothers as well as the maternal bonds that extend to grandmothers, aunts, and female family members. Palestinian regard maternal bonds as sacred relations that link families and connect them to past and future generations. During Mother’s Day public events are held, stories are shared, and poems are recited to honor the influence of Palestinian mothers on family and society.

Palestinian poets, writers, authors, and playwrights have dedicated much of their literary work to their mothers. While in an Israeli prison Mahmoud Darwish, the award winning author and poet dedicated a poem to his mother with the simple title “To My Mother.” The poem is written in letter-form and remains one of his most famous poems. It portrays the simple ordinary things that Palestinians treasure in their familial and communal relations, the crux of the Palestinian identity, and their arduous experience living under the Israeli occupation that often separates them from their loved ones (see poem below).

On the occasion of Mothers’ Day for Palestinians, and the advent of spring for all, may your day be filled with(فرح) happiness and (صحة جيدة) excellent emotional, mental, and physical health.


Oud player and music composer, Marcel Khalife (مارسيل خليفة) song “To My Mother إلى أمي” was written by the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish (محمود درويش). It captures the poet’s personal experience as a political prisoner longing to return home to be with his mother.

“إلى أمي  To My Mother”

أحنُّ إلى خبز أُمي
 Intensely I yearn for my mother’s bread
وقهوة أُمي
My mother’s coffee
ولمسة أُمي..
My mother’s tender touch…
وتكبرُ فيَّ الطفولةُ
Within me my childhood is raised,
يومًا على صدر يومِ
Day upon day
وأعشَقُ عمرِي لأني
For her I cherich life, because
إذا مُتُّ،
If I die
أخجل من دمع أُمي!
My mother’s tears will shame me.
خذيني، إذا عدتُ يومًا
Settle me, if I return one day,
وشاحًا لهُدْبِكْ
A thin veil on your lashes
وغطّي عظامي بعشب
With grass cover my bones
تعمَّد من طهر كعبك
Baptized by the purity of your heel
وشُدّي وثاقي ..
Untie my shackles
بخصلة شَعر ..
With a lock of your hair
بخيطٍ يلوِّح في ذيل ثوبك ..
With an unstitched thread at the helm of your thoub-dress
عساني أصيرُ
Perhaps I will become
إلهًا أصير ..
A tolerant god
إذا ما لمستُ قرارة قلبك
But, if  I could  touch the deep tranquility of your heart
ضعيني، إذا ما رجعتُ
Set me, if I ever return
وقودًا بتنور ناركْ ..
Fuel to light the fire you cook with
وحبل غسيل على سطح دارك
A clothes line on your roof
لأني فقدتُ الوقوفَ
Because I lost my strength to stand
بدون صلاة نهارك
Without your day light prayers
هَرِمْتُ، فردّي نجوم الطفولة
Old I have become… return me to the stars of childhood
حتى أُشارك
So I may join and chart my journey
صغار العصافير
With the fledgling sparrow chicks
درب الرجوع ..
To the homeward path
لعُش انتظارِك
Back to your awaiting  nest.


2 Responses to “Spring Equinox: Is Mother’s Day for Palestinians”


  1. 9 Ways to Celebrate the Spring Equinox – Inkwall - March 19, 2021

    […] Middle Eastern countries like Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Syria celebrate Mother’s Day on or around the same day as the equinox. But even if you live elsewhere, we’re sure your mom would […]

  2. 9 Ways to Celebrate the Spring Equinox - Quizzing - March 20, 2021

    […] Middle Eastern countries like Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Syria celebrate Mother’s Day on or around the same day as the equinox. But even if you live elsewhere, we’re sure your mom would […]

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