NEWS

Greece celebrates Mother's Day with wishes for better future

MARIA SPILIOPOULOU

TAGS: Society

Greece marked Mother's Day on Sunday with a series of events held by municipalities to honor motherhood.

Officials and ordinary citizens sent wishes for a better future for mothers and their children in the country which is set to exit an acute eight-year debt crisis this summer.

"This day reminds us of the role of the Mother who brings life and keeps family united... We should never forget that thanks to strong family ties we avoided the collapse of the social fabric during these difficult years," Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos said in his message for the day.

The celebration of motherhood in Greece has roots in antiquity. Ancient Greeks held spring festivals to honor Rhea, the goddess of fertility and "mother of Olympian Gods," according to ancient Greek mythology.

Mothers who took their children in a central Athens park on Sunday to enjoy music and dance performances and take part in various workshops noted that parenthood, in particular during the years of financial hardship, is not easy.

Greek women have fewer children than the average for the EU, according to figures for the year 2016 released by Eurostat this spring.

The average for Greek women is 1.38 children each, while the EU average fertility rate is 1.6 children.

Birth rates in Greece have dropped by 10 percent in the past decade, according to official statistics.

As social benefits to support motherhood have been slashed and couples faced pay cuts, tax hikes, unemployment and uncertainty, fertility rates have also declined. [Xinhua]

Online