The fascinating origins of Mother’s Day
Introduction: We might think of Mother’s Day as a modern phenomenon. However, celebrations of mothers and motherhood actually go back many years.
Ancient Greece and Rome.
Over two millennia ago, the Ancient Greeks used to participate in an annual celebration of the goddess Rhea – a mother figure. The festivities surrounding the celebration of Rhea enabled the Greeks to show their honor and respect for all things related to mothers.
A few centuries later, under the Roman Empire, the ancient Romans held similar festivals. Often, these were linked to celebrations of fertility: motherhood as the source of life and love was attached to ideas of nature’s power to nourish all live on earth.
As a result, in both Greek and Roman times, springtime festivals, when crops began to burst from the ground, and autumn festivals when the crops were ready for harvesting, became strongly associated with motherhood.
Early modern England.
The concept of Mother’s Day as we know it now, can be said to have been truly born in early seventeenth century England. The fourth Sunday of Lent was, at this time, designated ‘Mothering Sunday’. Children would celebrate by bringing their mothers fruits and flowers. And, as this festival was strongly connected to Christianity and to the Virgin Mary, statues of the Virgin Mary would also be adorned with flowers.
In the UK today, Mother’s Day is still celebrated earlier in the year than in the US. In the UK, the festival falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent, i.e., in the late March or early April and and it is still referred to as Mothering Sunday. Whereas, in the US and India it falls on the second Sunday of May.
Mother’s Day in the present Day.
Mother’s Day is now an international phenomenon, and it is celebrated in many countries throughout the world. Special cards can be bought for the occasion, and there is a general consensus that giving your mother a gift, cooking something for her, or taking her out for a special treat if you can is something that is very much appreciated on this day.
Mother’s Day provides us all with a reason to celebrate mothers and all that they stand for. Mother’s Day is a great day in the year, and a wonderful reason for families to come together. But, did you know that this special day has its roots way back in Ancient Greece? Well, now you do! Can you see any traces of these ancient roots in the way in which Mother’s Day is celebrated in the present day?