To learn more how Chinese celebrate Mother’s Day, I interviewed about 10 Chinese-Americans. Most of them did not know how Mother’s Day is celebrated in China. Many of them said that celebrations are similar to the American Mother’s Day: lots of gifts and cards. Though the Chinese Mother’s Day celebration seems like an exact replica of American Mother’s Day, Chinese culture does play a role in their celebration. In China, children are expected to respect and take care of their parents. Mother’s Day celebration — though originally came from the United States, fits into the Chinese culture very well because the idea of respect and appreciation for parents is deeply embedded in the society. One of my interviewee, Christina, said that it sometimes is too awkward for her to celebrate Mother’s Day in the “American way” because she is so used to not expressing her feelings. “Americans are so expressive and they are all about hugging and kissing. Chinese culture just isn’t like that.” She feels awkward saying, “I love you” to her mom. I heard a similar response from another interviewee named Ruxiao. She said Mother’s Day is the only day when she pushes herself to say, “I love you” to her mom. Some of the recent immigrants may still feel uncomfortable celebrating all Americanized Mother’s Day because they may not be accustomed to the Hallmark Mother’s Day card that says, “I love you mom!”
This is an interview with Ying Z. She brings an interesting point about how her family goes “healthy” on Mother’s Day. Like many other Chinese immigrants in New York City, Ying’s celebration is Americanized— flowers, food, and cards.
Below is a combined transcription of five selected interviews. Many Chinese people are celebrating an American Mother’s Day because celebration in China is also very Americanized. By following American Mother’s Day traditions, they are also adhering to the celebration back in China.