Mothers play a highly respected role in Thai society. The Buddha, in his teachings about compassion, described the special kind of love that mothers have for their children: "Love the whole world as a mother loves her only child." Stemming from this is the belief that children should do everything they can to repay their mother for her unconditional love and care. From an early age, children are encouraged to show their gratitude and respect for their mothers in their daily actions, words and deeds, from the simple yet poignant 'wai', or bow, of respect when greeting her, to sharing their home and income with her when she reaches old age.
Mother's Day, or 'Wan Mae', is also a national holiday, and several events celebrating mums, such as cooking contests and fashion shows, are held across Phuket in local community parks, shopping centres and hospitals. Schoolchildren prepare for the event weeks in advance and their mums are invited to the school to watch music and dance performances and join a garland-giving ceremony.
Families celebrate the day in various ways, but one crucial element is to give mum a jasmine garland. The white jasmine represents purity, a symbol of a mother's pure love for her children. In the days leading up to Mother's Day, all the flower shops in Phuket will begin to display their garland designs. Garlands range from a simple single strand to an ornate work of art that might also have roses, orchids or other vivid flowers woven in. Children aim to give their mother the best garland they can afford.
Garlands make ideal gifts, of course, but those hoping to give their mums a longer-lasting version of the Mother's Day flower might wish to drop in at the Lemongrass House in Cherng Talay, where among its sensory-pleasing selection of spa products are a host of jasmine items. From body and facial creams to pillow sprays, shower gels and reed diffusers, there are myriad ways for mum to immerse herself in the heavenly scent of jasmine. In aromatherapy, jasmine is considered to be an uplifting scent that eases anxiety, as well as being a bit of a 'love potion'.
Mums will also enjoy the chance to unwind and restore the senses at RE KÁ TA spa at The Boathouse resort on Kata Beach, which is offering a 25% discount on all of its treatments on Mother's Day. Treatments include the Beet Down sports massage, which combines Thai, Swedish and Ayurvedic movements to energise muscle cells, attain cardiovascular and respiratory balance and ease tensions around joints and ligaments, as well as the RE KÁ TA Aroma oil massage, manicures and facials.
The Hilton Phuket Arcadia resort on Karon Beach is also rolling out the red carpet for mothers this year. With Mother's Day falling on a Sunday, the Hilton's famous Sunday brunch at Sails restaurant is adding some special treats to its usual vast spread of food and wine. Brunching mums will receive a rose and complimentary glass of sparkling wine, plus a chance to win a signature spa package in a door prize.
Phuket International Hospital is inviting mums and their children aged 10-17 to learn how to better preserve their happy memories with a free photography course led by professional photographer Ajarn Somchai Yimpatr. The course will be held on August 4, from 8.30am to 2pm. Participants will need to bring their own digital camera.
On August 11 and 12, Thanyapura Sports & Leisure Club is giving mums free access to its fitness facilities – a 900 sqm fitness gym, 50m swimming pool, track and tennis courts – plus there's a "buy-one-get-one-free" spa or nail treatment at Thanyapura Spa. For mums with children aged 4-10 years, Thanyapura Tree Club is offering two hours free child minding while they enjoy their spa treatment or fitness session. As well, mums will receive a 10% discount at the organic DiVine Restaurant.
Good kids would never urge their Mums to go take a flying leap . . . unless they have mums with a taste for adventure. In that case, they ought to bring their mums out for an action-packed day of learning the art of trapeze with KidzSole. Though popular with children, the courses are not just for kids; families of all ages are welcome to join in. KidzSole runs daily sessions at the JW Marriott Phuket Resort on Mai Khao Beach from 3pm and at the Laguna Family Summer Festival on Bangtao Beach starting at 5pm.
Phuket International Hospital. Tel: +66 (0)76 249400 ext 1336-1339.
Hilton Phuket Arcadia. Tel: +66 (0)76 396433.
Web: www.facebook.com/hiltonphuket, www.twitter.com/hiltonphuket
Lemongrass House. Tel: +66 (0)76 325501. Web: www.lemongrasshouse.com
Kidzsole Tel: +66 (0)84 837 5726. Web: www.kidzSole.com
RE KÁ TA. Tel: +66 (0)76 330421. Web: www.rekataphuket.com