Disclaimer: That spelling change was a throwback to the Happy Easter post, but the word Mothre is just a French last name.
Mother’s Day, like Easter, was a Pagan tradition first (the Greeks were honoring Rhea, mother of the gods), then a Christian tradition (honoring Mary, the mother of the son of God but not necessarily God’s lawfully wedded wife, seeing as the Holy Spirit came upon her instead of the Father Himself), and became a holiday for Mothers later on. Then it was dropped by the colonists (“because of lack of time”), and reinvented as a day for “mothers for peace” in 1872. There was a touching scene with a Philadelphia town honoring a mother named Ann Jarvis, and in 1914, her daughter convinced President Wilson to make it a national holiday. But at the same time, a new force began to grow that would expand to become the face of Mother’s Day greeting cards today: in 1910, Hallmark was born.
So which one do we celebrate? Rhea is short on worshippers, and Mary is at a status above sainthood in the Catholic Church (and most of us think she’s nice). It’s no longer religious, though doves and pastel colors (a la Easter) are prevalent on this day.
Mothers for peace– someone should have told me it was for peace. I could work with that.
The last never officially happened– but neither did the tradition of Halloween’s unconditional surrender to Party City, Hollywood cosplays and costumes with “sexy” thrown in the name. What was once mother-based social activism for peace is now a form of love and pink Valentines-like merchandise we buy and drop off at their house with a two-minute phone call.
Some of us do it right. Regardless of the holiday’s original intentions, some of us rally together to give mothers a day off– of no work, and of the very indulgences they prepared for us over years of her unquestioning labor of love. Breakfast in bed, personal presents from the kids, maybe a note in a nice card. A trip to someplace special.
Maybe it’s a holiday we’ve each had to invent ourselves.
But quite frankly, it’s been about important mothers in our lives from the beginning. Celebrating and appreciating them. Giving them the day of their lives.
All historical analyses aside, are you doing that today?