Mother’s Day

Sheila Heffernan reports

N27 Pic 1Mother’s Day, which falls on the 6th of March, is a day of recognition for all the work that mothers do for their children. The first recorded celebration of mothers took place in Greek and Roman society. These celebrations were undertaken in the name of goddesses, such as Rhea and Cybele, who tended to have given birth to gods. As time moved on however, the day changed from the celebration of raising gods, to the job of raising human children, although some mothers would see little difference in the matter.
In Europe in the 1600’s, a Catholic celebration named Mothering Sunday resurfaced to replace the pagan counterparts. Occurring on the fourth Sunday of Lent, it was set as a day young people could return home to their families, as well as a religious ceremony. Away on apprenticeships and as servants, they would return to their home parish to receive mass in their ‘Mother’ Church. After the ceremony, they would return home to their mothers with freshly picked flowers and an almond Simnel cake. Doubtless, the arrival of children which may not have been seen since the year before was just as welcome as the gifts.
N27 Pic 2This practice slowly died away after the Industrial Revolution, only resurfacing in the early 1900’s in America, thanks to the work of Anna Jarvis on behalf of her own mother. After years of petitioning, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Joint Resolution to make Mother’s Day a national holiday, set on the second Sunday of May. Soldiers who fought in the Second World War brought the practice of Mother’s Day back to Europe, and indeed much of the world. As with all holidays, each country has developed its own way of celebrating their mothers to match the different dates.
In Mexico, Mother’s Day takes place on the 10th of May each year. The children, if they live away from home, are expected to return for the 9th so that they can begin doing the house work for their mother. Mass is held in the morning, with ‘tamales’ and ‘atole’ served to mothers afterwards. Another country which still has links to the religious begins of Mother’s Day is Spain. Celebrated on December 8th, it is for both mothers and the Virgin Mary.
Other countries, such as Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, have become more commercialized as the years have passed. Cards, flowers and dinners have become the main stays for mothers. A common flower to give would be carnations, which symbolize Mother’s Day. There is a tradition of wearing a red or pink carnation for mothers who are living, and a white one for those who have passed on. Another suggestion for a gift, following the traditions in France, could be a cake in the shape of a bouquet along with a family dinner, in a restaurant or at home. As long as the mother gets to leave the preparing and clean up to someone else, it’s bound to be acceptable.
Whether it be a small gift of flowers, a meal, a trip or simply a day with her family, all Mother’s deserve to be celebrated for the care and love they give their families. No matter the day or the tradition, some recognition never goes amiss.

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