Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mums of the world! The stay at home mums, the full-time work mums, the step mums, those mum’s who are no longer with us, the dads and the grandparents who take on both roles and all those in between who deserve your love and appreciation this Mother’s Day. To celebrate this day of love, appreciation and remembrance we here at Iggy & Burt want to bring together the many Mother’s Day traditions that take place around the world and the ways in which we celebrate motherhood.
Just in case you didn’t know how you came to be celebrating this weekend…Mothering Day- not to be confused with Mother’s Day is a Christian holiday celebrated during the fourth Sunday of Lent, exactly three weeks before Easter day. It was once seen as the day for Christians to visit their Mother Church. The Mother Church was usually the church you were baptised in or the nearest Cathedral to your town. Later, Mothering Sunday became the day domestic servants were given a day off to visit the Mother Church and their families. This day was often the only time for them to visit their families and so this large occasion eventually evolved into a day of giving gifts and spending time with their mothers. Today, Mother’s Day in England is a more commercialised affair, taking on the form of the American, secular holiday of Mother’s Day.
Anna Marie Jarvis is known as the founder of the Mother’s Day holiday in the USA. Anna had a close relationship with her mother Ann who passed away in 1905. Three years after her mother’s death, Jarvis held a memorial service for her mother and all mothers at their local church. This was the first official marking of Mother’s Day and although she was not able to attend the service, she sent five hundred white carnations for all those in attendance. For her, the white carnation symbolised truth, purity and the charity of a mother’s love. Anna chose this flower because, ‘the carnation does not drop its petals, but hugs them to its heart as it dies, and so, too, mothers hug their children to their hearts, their mother love never dying.’ Unfortunately, once Mother’s Day traditions caught on, Anna was very much against its commercialisation and due to the demand for white carnations, red carnations began to be sold. The red became a flower for mothers who were alive and the white for those who had died. Anna’s original message about the meaning of Mother’s Day became lost in confectionary and cards and so it is with this in mind that we remember to not only shower our mother’s in cards and gifts this Mother’s Day, but also with remembrance, admiration and gratitude
In France, Mother’s Day became a way in which the state could promote certain political agendas during the early 20thcentury. In 1906, ten mothers of nine children each were given an award of High Maternal Merit. This award was granted due to the dire consequences of war which meant there was a low birth rate in France. In 1920 this became an official day as a thank you to all those big families who were helping to repopulate France after World War I. Médaille de la Famille Française is still a recognised award given by the French government today. It was not until the 1950’s that Mother’s Day as we know it came into its true form. Mother’s Day, known as Fête des Mères is celebrated on the last Sunday in May and the traditional gift given to those special mothers are flower bouquet cakes. Flowers that you can eat will always be a special gift in our eyes!
In 1922, the US Mother’s Day holiday was imported and promoted by the newspaper, Excélsior, whilst the conservative government aimed to promote the typical American celebration as a way to promote the ideal of women as wives and mothers in society. These ‘traditional’ female expectations for women to be wives and mothers was highly criticized by socialists as it suggested women’s soul purpose in life was to breed. The day took on a religious zeal as the Catholic Church backed the occasion and religious icons, such as the Madonna were used to represent the celebration. It is typically suggested that the Mexican Government abandoned these initiatives to promote a zealous and traditional way of living through Mother’s Day in the 1940s. Today, the ‘Día de las Madres’ is an unofficial holiday celebrated on the 10thMay. It is tradition that the matriarch of the household is serenaded with the famous song ‘Las Mañanitas,’ before attending church for a special mass. Like all Mother’s Day celebrations, the day is about honouring mothers and spending the time to celebrate being together.
In Thailand, Mother’s Day is a highly special event celebrated on August the 12th, the day of Her Majesty the Queen, Sirikit’s birthday. A part of the tradition involves offering food and gifts to Buddhist monks during ceremonies held during the morning. A traditional gift given to mothers is the Jasmine flower. Known as Dok Mali in Thai, the Jasmine flower is a symbol of purity and gentleness whilst it has also become associated with worship. The meanings given to the Jasmine flower suggest the mother should become a figure of worship for the day. This is also seen through the Mother’s Day Ceremony that takes place in some Thai schools. During this ceremony, mothers are invited into their child’s school. Each child kneels at their mother’s feet to pay respect for all she has done for them. It tends to be an emotional and wonderful event for sons and daughters to give thanks.