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     Volume 6 Issue 11 | March 23, 2007 |

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Straight Talk

Happy Mother's Day

The older one gets, the less people seem to want to celebrate birthdays. The fewer reminders you get about your age, the better you feel. Then you have Valentine's Day which has become so commercialised that one may deem it wiser to treat it like any other day and claim that every day is Valentine's Day solely for fear of not getting it right or not making a gesture that will suitably impress one's partner. However, there is one day of the year that I for one do enjoy, and that is Mother's Day. Being made a fuss of and pampered by my husband and children is definitely something I look forward to. Really, who would turn their noses up at being the centre of attention for the whole day without having their age emblazoned on a cake by too many candles to count!

What exactly is Mother's Day, you may ask. To be honest different countries celebrate Mother's Day at different times of the year and even their historical background and inception are different. From what I can gather, the earliest Mother's Day celebrations go as far back as Ancient Greece where spring celebrations were held in Honour of Rhea, the Mother of the Gods. But during the seventeenth century, England celebrated a day which they called 'Mothering Sunday' which fell on the fourth Sunday of the month of Lent (this is the 40 day period leading up to Easter). The history behind it seems to suggest that during this time, a large number of England's poor found work as servants for the wealthy aristocrats and the landed gentry. However, this meant that quite frequently, their work place was located far from their homes as they would normally live with their employers. On Mothering Sunday, the servants would be allowed to take the day off and visit their local or mother church and was also one of the few times they got to spend time with their mothers. Gradually Mothering Sunday was extended to include time spent with one's mothers. Therefore, people began honouring not just the church but their mothers as well.

However, on the other side of the Atlantic, Mother's Day was first conceptualised in 1872 by Julia Ward Howe as a day dedicated to peace. She would hold organised Mother's Day meetings in Boston ever year. However, she never managed to make this day a formally recognised event. Then in 1907 Anna Jarvis, from Philadelphia, began a campaign to try and institute a national Mother's Day. She convinced her mother's church in Grafton, West Virginia to celebrate Mother's Day on her mother's second death anniversary which was the 2nd Sunday of May. By the following year Mother's Day was also celebrated in Philadelphia. This became a full fledged movement with Jarvis and her followers writing to ministers, businessman, and politicians to try and establish a national Mother's Day. Obviously it was a success as by 1911 Mother's Day was celebrated in almost every state in America and President Woodrow Wilson, in 1914, made the official announcement proclaiming Mother's Day as a national holiday that was to be held each year on the 2nd Sunday of May.

As far as I am concerned, however, the whole idea came about and whoever established it, I am exceedingly thankful to them! Even when I was a child growing up in London, I remember planning days ahead what my brother and I would do on mother's day and how we would surprise my mother. Handmade cards, breakfast in bed, flowers and chocolates were always a big hit. In a way it is almost quite sad that these days the greedy hand of commercialism has once again managed to make it a day for buying gifts and cards. Nowadays, Spa treatment, weekend shopping trips to France are alternatives to breakfast lovingly prepared by children for their mothers or a bunch of flowers bought at the local store. Not that I particularly like breakfast in bed, in fact the thought of eating my breakfast before brushing my teeth and then getting crumbs on my duvet are less than appealing. But that is a feeling I do not mind putting on hold for this particular day where a cup of tea not as strong as one would like it or a piece of toast with the burnt bits scraped off make it the best food in the world especially when you know that your children took that time to make it for you.

It seems to be the case that people sometimes confuse the thought of placing a monetary value on something to make someone feel special. The more lavish the gift, the more you must love them. However, it can actually mean a whole lot more if the gift in question is somebody's time and affection. Given a choice I would prefer a cake baked by my daughter to a cake bought at the most renowned patisserie or spend the day with my family rather than be packed off to a spa somewhere by myself. But then again I am talking about Mother's Day which I feel should be spent with family. However if it were my birthday, that would be a different matter altogether!

It is a pity that Mother's Day comes around only once every year as mothers should be celebrated all year round. However, it does seem to be the case that they commemorate Mother's Day on the 10th of October in Malawi, the 8th of December in Panama, 7th April in Armenia, I could carry on. Therefore, we could technically celebrate Mother's Day at least once a month during the whole year...

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