Sunday, 14 March 2010

Mother's Day

So here - in the immortal words of Noddy Holder - 'it' is. No, not Merry Christmas: Mothering Sunday; Mother's Day; Laetare; Simnel, Refreshment, Pudding Pie or even Mid-Lent Sunday. Call it what you will. Have it when you will (in the US of A mums have got to wait until the 9th May). It means the same thing. All over the world, wherever it is celebrated, the true meaning of Mother's Day shines through as clear as a shaft of bright, spring sunlight: pay homage at the shrine of Hallmark; make sacrifice at the altar of M&S and pay through the nose for either flowers, Sunday lunch, or both.

But wait! 'What's this?' I hear you say. What of the practise of honouring one's mother; what of the old tradition of maids and servants being given the day off to visit their families? What about the story of people visiting their 'mother church' (where they'd been baptised) on Mothering Sunday?

Well, up to a point, Lord Copper. I mean, none of the above is wrong, exactly. It's just that it's nowhere near the whole story. The truth is no-one really knows what Mother's Day is, or how it came about. It might be a Christian adaptation of an ancient pagan festival (the Roman mother-goddess Cybele had her feast around this time). It wouldn't be the first time Christians had conveniently appropriated someone else's festival. (Easter, anyone? The name comes from the Anglo-Saxon goddess of fertility, AEostre.)

But back to Christianity. The day falls roughly in the middle of Lent (which is why it's different every year) and   signified the point where fasting rules could be relaxed to mark the Feeding of the Five Thousand Bible story. And the Epistle for the day in the Book of Common Prayer refers to Jerusalem as "the Mother of us all" which may explain a thing or two.

But - in short - no-one really knows. And does it really matter, as long as we remember mum? You did, didn't you? You did get that card and bunch of flowers? Or maybe something similar? Kelly didn't have to worry; she was winner of The Gluttonous Gardener Rose-Box competition. But as for the rest of us...

You didn't forget, did you?

Oh well, there's always next year. But put it in your diary now:

Mother's Day 2011 is on 3rd April (8th May USA).

So, no excuses!

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