Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day, Mami!Happy Mother's Day, Mami!Hopefully, if you're a mother and reading this you are being spoiled rotten by your family.  However, if you are like me with only one teenager left at home and all the others have flown the nest, then you'll probably be making your own morning cup of coffee and breakfast, as the teenager only surfaces closer to lunchtime.

Honouring Mothers on Mother's Day is quite a long tradition.  The Greeks got it right centuries ago, when they had special celebrations in spring to honour Rhea, the mother of the gods. Then the early Christians in England thought it would be good to have a special day to honour Mary the mother of Jesus, and this they did on the 4th Sunday of Lent. Being such a magnanimous people, they opened it up to all mothers and even maids working in rich houses were allowed to go home to visit their families. How kind was that? In the US, some lady who wrote the Battle Hymn of the Republic (Julia Ward Howe) got a little bit ticked off at all the killing and carnage in the wars which were popular at the time, and in the 1870's she got this bee in her bonnet about a Mother's Day for Peace. Of course, she never imagined gifts and fabulous lunches for mothers, but probably envisaged mothers marching and waving placards and throwing rotten tomatoes at the president.

Howe actually got the idea of Mother's Day for Peace from Ann Jarvis, the sister of that famous doctor James Reeves, who tried to get a Mother's Friendship Day going to improve sanitation. How a special day honouring mother's will make people wash their hands after going to the bathroom, I'm not sure. When Ann died in 1905, her daughter Anna missed her so much that she got her family and friends working on a letter writing campaign to those high up in the public sector, to have Mother's Day declared a national holiday to honour all mothers, living and dead. She was successful in her efforts and on Sunday 10th May 1908, the very first Mother's Day as we know it was celebrated. Anna Jarvis had imagined it to be a kind of a religious type of holiday, but 9 years later, it had attracted so much commercial hype with special cards and gift baskets, that poor Anna was disillusioned and became an opponent of Mother's Day, or the kind of day Mother's Day had become. Unfortunately, money talks and nobody listened to poor Anna Jarvis, and the day became even more commercial. As a mother I see nothing wrong with that. Spend my children, spend. But don't ask me to lend you money. So we have the English still sticking to their Mother's day in Lent, but the rest of the world joining the US to celebrate Mother's Day and honour and pay tribute to mothers all over the world on the 2nd Sunday in May.

Our relationship with our Mothers is a very important one.  They carried us for nine months, put up with our temper tantrums and mood swings, and played a large part in shaping who we are today.  There are many times when growing up, that you might have disliked your mother or even hated her.  This is quite normal, we all go through that, especially when your mother is just as stubborn as you and won't give you what you think you need at the time.  But when the going gets tough, Mothers will always put the past behind them and be there for their children.  Are you there for your Mother?


  1. I love history and had no idea where Mother's Day came from so thank you! I have a mother that for many reasons does not exist for me but I have a step mother that I love dearly and would do anything for as she would for me. My greatest accomplishment as a mother is watching my own kids be the most amazing parents to my grand children!

  2. Doreen
    This was interesting to me as well when I researched this, as I'd also had no idea about Mother's Day. I am still waiting for my grand children!