Happy Mother’s Day
Happy Mother’s Day: Mother’s Day is celebrated on May 10, 2020. This year, many of us are rethinking how to give extra recognition to moms, especially if separated. Check out 10 fun ideas for spending time with Mom—from a virtual dinner date to a long-distance movie night to a Zoom talent show!
MOTHER’S DAY 2020
Mother’s Day celebrates motherhood and is a day to make an extra-special effort to recognize and appreciate mothers’ roles in our lives. Often this day is extended to generations of mothers—grandmothers, great-grandmothers, stepmothers—as well as to mother figures.
In the United States, Mother’s Day is celebrated annually on the second Sunday in May. Although Mother’s Day is a national holiday widely observed in the U.S., it is not a federal or public holiday (when businesses are closed).
THE HISTORY OF MOTHER’S DAY
A day to honor mothers has existed for as long as, well, there have been mothers! Festivals honoring mothers in ancient times were often tied to gods and goddesses. The Phrygians held a festival for Cybele, the Great Mother of the Gods. The Greeks and Romans also honored the mother figure of their gods. Even today, an important festival in India, Durga-puja, honors the goddess Durga.
During the Middle Ages, people would return to their home or “mother” church once a year during the middle of Lent. (Back then, children would often leave to work at the tender age of 10!) Historians theorize that it was the return to the “mother” church that led to the tradition of children getting the day off to visit their mother and family.
In 16th-century England, this celebration became “Mothering Sunday.” Children—mainly daughters who had gone to work as domestic servants—would be given the day off on the fourth Sunday of Lent to return to their mothers and home parish. The eldest son or daughter would bring a “mothering cake,” which would be cut and shared by the entire family. Family reunions were the order of the day, with sons and daughters assuming all household duties and preparing a special dinner in honor of their mother. Sometime during the day, the mother would attend special church services with her family.
Mothering Sunday was also known as Refreshment Sunday; the fasting rules were relaxed for that day. (Often, the gospel for the day was about Jesus feeding the crowd with loaves of bread.) The traditional cake, called a Simnel cake, is a fruit cake with two layers of almond paste. The cake was made with 11 balls of marzipan icing on top, representing the 11 disciples. (Judas is not included.) Traditionally, sugar violets would also be added.
In the United States, three women were most instrumental in establishing the tradition of Mother’s Day: Ann Reeves Jarvis, Julia Ward Howe, and Ann’s daughter, Anna M. Jarvis. Learn more about these three great women who fought for children’s wellfare, health and peace. Read our article about the History of Mother’s Day in the United States.
In 2020, given the COVID-19 crisis, many of us are rethinking how to give extra recognition to moms, some of whom are in the high-risk age range.
Most moms simply wish to connect with their children and spend time with family in any way possible—if not in person, then with a phone call or video chat.
If your mom is at home, give her a day off from any family chores, especially during this difficult time. Someone else can take full responsibility for making or serving the food, clearing and cleaning the dishes, and doing the laundry. Volunteer!
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