Mother’s Day in the UK was originally a 17thcentury religious festival on the fourth Sunday in Lent. It was called Mothering Sunday and was a time when Christians where requested to visit their Mother Church (the church from their hometown). Servants were given the day off to return home so they could go to church with their families. This was perhaps the only time families could get together in the year.
By the 1920s this tradition was becoming less popular and it was during this time that Anna Jarvis in the USA and Constance Penswick-Smith in the UK were campaigning to have a Mothering Sunday which was a day devoted to the appreciation of Mothers everywhere. It took a few years to become an established day in the UK and after the day was commercialised by the greeting card companies and flower sellers, by the 1950s it was part of the calendar.
Mother’s Day is the day when we treat our Mothers to some of the care and attention they usually give to their families on a daily basis. A common way to start the day is giving her breakfast in bed. This is a good idea for children to do as it shows their appreciation for the all-important organisation needed by Mothers in the morning for school runs.
Then, of course, giving Mothers some flowers is a gesture of love that is always appreciated. Although each flower has symbolism, most of us just find the most beautiful bunch but if you want to send a special message through your flowers, there is a list of which flowers are appropriate for Mother’s Day. This list is made from the Victorian meanings:
Carnations: These are the most common flowers to give on Mother’s Day as they represent love.
White carnations: pure love and also offers good luck.
Daffodils: high regard and unequalled love.
Lily-of-the-valley: sweetness, purity and love.
Pink Roses: happiness, grace and gentleness.
Yellow Tulips: sunshine in your smile.
Another way to gift at Mother’s Day is to give her “a day of rest”; a day of pampering with no housework or routine so she can recharge her batteries. It doesn’t have to be an expensive trip to the spa but perhaps whilst she’s eating her breakfast in bed, some housework could be done for her and perhaps cook or prepare her a meal. Of course, doing the washing up afterwards is always a must! For most Mothers the best part of Mother’s Day is having family around so organising a game night or film night is also a good idea.
So how do they celebrate Mother’s Day in some other countries?
France: it was Napoleon who first introduced Fête des Mères. He wanted to thank mothers of large families of five children or more but during the First World War these mothers were actually given medals!
Brazil: Dia das Mãesis a big event in Brazil, the children put on special shows and the church is also involved in the festivities.
Australia: Basically the event is the same as the UK but the most popular flower to give is a chrysanthemum – just because of the spelling!
Ethiopia: At the end of the rainy season there is great celebration and feasting in honour of mothers.
Serbia: There is a particularly unusual tradition of tying the mother up until she provides special treats for the rest of the family! This, of course, is all done in good fun and the tradition is the same for Father’s Day and Children’s Day.
Unfortunately, we are currently going through the coronavirus pandemic and trying to organise a family get together at this time is almost impossible especially when we consider that most of our Mothers/Grandmothers are in the at risk age group. So Mother’s Day in isolation – how can bring some comfort during this time?
Skype: Everyone can organise a time when you all skype and a good time for this is over a meal. This is a particularly good idea if the family is in different parts of the country or even abroad.
Writing: Not an email or text but an old fashioned letter. Receiving a letter from loved ones is always comforting.
Get posting: All the flowers, chocolates, books, puzzles and other gifts can be sent through the post as this proves that you took time out to organise the delivery just to make her happy.
Photos: Take a dozen or so photos of you sending your love for Mother’s Day. Photos are always a winner with Mothers so printing some good ones and sending them through the post will always be a good thing to do.
Whatever the traditions, people all over the world take a day out to give recognition to their mothers and we should make sure we all make a gesture of some sort to thank them for their efforts.
Happy Mother’s Day