Sunday, 10 May 2009



Everyone has a mother, so it isn't surprising that throughout the world there are ways of honoring and celebrating mothers. Mother's Day is a time to think about the legacies – personal and societal – mothers and grandmothers pass on.
Historically, mothers have had a key role in building and maintaining connections across generations. Even today, they are most often the "kinkeepers" in families and take the lead in passing down family stories, life lessons, and traditions. Honoring this role of mothers is part of the story behind Mother's Day – but not all of it.

Many people may believe Mother's Day was developed as a commercial holiday by Hallmark or some other company to sell cards, candy, and flowers. Or, they may believe it's a day solely to celebrate the domestic role of women in the home and family. Neither of these perceptions is accurate. Our consumerist market may have fueled the commercialism around the holiday, and the role of mothers in families is indeed important, but Mother's Day is not only about honoring a woman's devotion to her own family. The history of the day has its roots in honoring the broader networks, social ties, and political concerns of women. The day is about women's commitment to the past, present, and future at both the personal and political levels. It honors women who have acted not only on behalf of their own children but also on behalf of an entire future generation.

Early Beginnings

Mother's Day isn't a new holiday. The earliest Mother's Day celebrations can be traced back to the spring celebrations of ancient Greece in honor of Rhea, the mother of the gods. People would make offerings of honey-cakes, fine drinks, and flowers at dawn.

The Romans also had a mother of all gods, Magna Mater, or Great Mother. A temple was built in Rome for her. In March of each year, there was a celebration in her honor called the Festival of Hilaria. Gifts were brought to the temple to please the powerful mother-goddess.

During the 1600s, England celebrated "Mothering Sunday" on the fourth Sunday of Lent (the 40 days leading up to Easter) as a way to honor the mothers of England. Many of England's poor lived and worked as servants for the wealthy, far away from their homes and families. On Mothering Sunday, servants were given the day off to return home and spend the day with their mothers. A special cake, called the "mothering cake," was often baked to add to the festivities.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pam , You continue to amaze me. A moving and very informative write up. Read by loads of people I hope. Luv B x