Mother’s Day (Mata Tirtha Aushi or Aama ko Mukh Herne Din) is celebrated in most parts of the world according to their calendar. This year, Mother’s Day in Nepal falls on 21 Baishak 2076 i.e. 4th of May 2019, a new moon day of Nepali calendar.
In Nepali vernacular, it is known as Mata Tirtha Aushi or Aama ko Mukh Herne Din, literally meaning Mother New Moon and Day to see Mother’s Face respectively. While the former is more attached to calendrical mark, the latter entails the notion that this day is significant especially for married daughters and sons who are away from home, to see, meet their mother and spend some time.
This day is more cultural than religious therefore, it crosses the boundary of diversified societies of differences in terms of ethnicity/caste, religious precepts, rituals, and religion. Mothers are showered with love and respect on this day. Both married and unmarried children present their mother gifts and delicious food that she likes to eat.
Those who do not have a mother or whose mother has passed away, they go to a nearby lake or pond and remember their mother, performing certain rituals. The Mata Tirtha River which is in the outskirts of Kathmandu gets crowded on this day. Rivers and ponds are treated in a special way on this special day. Many of the rituals and the like mankind do have folk stories and legends, and so is with mother’s day and pond.
In one variant, a cowherd was praying for the happiness of his deceased mother by a lake, and suddenly, his mother’s face started forming in the water and her hand retrieved the offerings he had given. Another story is of a young boy who used to eat by the pond, but every day a bit of food would fall in the pond. One day, when he looked into the pond he saw his late mother’s face on the water. He got upset and started crying because she would not go home with him but his mother vowed that she could be seen on this day in Baishak every year.
There is also a contrasting story – A lake was frequently visited by a lady looking for the face of her mother. Each time she went to the water she was greeted with her own reflection looking back. After this kept happening, the lady became so frustrated that she jumped into the lake. It is said that since the lady had died in the lake, the deceased mother’s face could no longer be seen.