“Since the day I was born I have loved you so much…” were the opening words I penned on a handmade Mother’s Day card back in the 3rd grade. Those were the only words I remember as our teacher was a merciless editor and I think those were the only original words I was allowed to keep in the final version that was sent home to my Mother.
I am sure Mom still has the card tucked away somewhere, along with the gold-painted broach made from an eyeglass lens that accompanied the card. Memories of Mother’s Day stay with us, as children and then as we grow up to become mothers of our own.
2020 will be a particularly memorable Mother’s Day since social distancing will likely mean we will have to be creative about how you can still see mom and yet keep a safe distance.
Mother’s Day Traditions
The celebration of motherhood can be traced back to the Egyptians, but we will fast forward to more current history. There is an excellent website on the history of Mother’s Day for the Jeopardy fans in the crowd. Plus you can shop for a bit of land in Scotland at the same time!
In North America Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. Currently, there are close to 70 countries who officially celebrate Mother’s Day, but at different times of the year and in different ways.
Some countries, like France in 1918 with influence from American troops, simply imported the US secular traditions. Others, including countries whose tradition stems from the English Mothering Day, maintain traditions quite different from those of the United States. Still, others have ignored or abandoned the more religious and commercial notions of Mother’s Day, choosing instead to focus on women’s issues and women’s rights by celebrating International Women’s Day.
For some countries, there is religious significance to the day.
- United Kingdom: Mothering Day falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Its origins in early Christianity to honour the Mother Church where Christians were baptized.
- Ethiopia: the holiday is tied to seasons and agriculture, and in Yugoslavia it leads up to Christmas, commemorating the Motherhood of Christ.
The Mother of Mother’s Day in North America
Mother’s Day is a tribute to commercialism which its founder fought bitterly against. Anna M. Jarvis successfully campaigned to have the first official Mother’s Day celebration held, a tribute to her mother Julia Ward Howe who conceived the Mother’s Day Proclamation back in 1870.
There’s a reason ‘mother’ is singular: Jarvis was very intentional about the name of her holiday. It’s Mother’s Day — as in one mom. The way Jarvis put it, Mother’s Day is a day to honor “the best mother who ever lived, yours.”
When the Americans get a good idea in their heads they run with it, and while Anna dedicated her life to making Mother’s Day an official holiday (Woodrow Wilson declared it in 1914), she spent as much effort to stop the exploitation of the Mother’s Day, particularly by the flower industry who continue to profit. The end of Anna’s story is that she died in 1948, blind, poor and childless. Ironically, The Florist’s Exchange anonymously paid for her final care.
If you are quarantined at home together, why not host Afternoon Tea? From cream tea to a full afternoon tea menu, check here for plenty of ideas. You could also pack up a box and drop it off on her doorstep.
Many Food Ideas to Serve Mom
From scrambled eggs to cinnamon buns, I have a number of “Mother’s Day”ideas at this link.
Downton Books for Mom
You still have time to order books for mom. You can check out the books on the right and other great books below.