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Mothers Day Gifts and History

Updated on May 28, 2011

Mothers Day Gifts for Mothers and Grandmothers ... and History

What gift can you send your mother and your grandmother on Mother’s Day to show how much you love them?

If you are short on money for gifts this year, then send this famous poem by telephone, but don't call collect. Or in a note signed, “With love” and your name, or at the very least, in an email. But send it!

A Freudian slip is when you say one thing but mean your mother.

M is for the million things she gave me,
O means only that she's growing old,
T is for the tears she shed to save me,
H is for her heart of purest gold;
E is for her eyes, with love-light shining,
R means right, and right she'll always be,
Put them all together, they spell MOTHER, A word that means the world to me.

(Still popular poem created by Howard Johnson in 1915.)

If your mother has a funny bone – and I’ve never known a mother or grandmother without one, else how would they be able to raise children? And maintain their sanity? – then send this version to them, too. (It’s ascribed to Dean Martin).

M is for the Many things she gave me.

O is for the Other things she gave me.

T is for the other Things she gave me.

H is for How many things she gave me.

E is for Everything she gave me.

R is for the Rest of what she gave me.

Put them all together, they spell MOTHER, A word that means the world to me.

(Repetitive to be sure but it does spell Mother.)

My Mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my Mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her. - George Washington 

Greek Mother Goddess Rhea
Greek Mother Goddess Rhea
Liam Neeson (behind the beard) as Zeus
Liam Neeson (behind the beard) as Zeus
Roman Mother Goddess Cybele
Roman Mother Goddess Cybele
Saint Brigid of Ireland
Saint Brigid of Ireland

So how did this celebration of Mothers Day begin?

Thought you would never ask. Once upon a time in ancient Greece, spring celebrations were held to honor the goddess, Rhea, wife of Cronus, and the mother of all the Gods. She was the goddess of female fertility and motherhood and represented the eternal flow of time and generations.

Her husband Cronus (Kronus) was not a nice person. He heard a prophecy that he would be deposed by one of his children so he began the custom of swallowing each child whole shortly after birth. Rhea finally became fed up with her husband’s sadistic behavior and hid her youngest child, Zeus, in a cave in Crete.

In his place she gave Cronus a large stone wrapped in swaddling clothes which he promptly swallowed. Cronus may have been gifted with amazing throat muscles, but it appears he was lacking in the brains department.

So you won’t feel too badly about the swallowed kids, I must confess that they did not die and were later freed. Among these later Olympians who joined Zeus were the gods and goddesses: Demeter, Hera, Hestia, Poseidon, and Hades. Note: to see for yourself how god-like Zeus may have looked, see the film, “Clash of the Titans,” with the actor, Liam Neeson, portraying Zeus.

In ancient Rome, a similar significant festival was dedicated to Cybele, the Roman mother goddess. These ceremonies began about 250 years B.C. I can’t desribe in precise detail what Cybele’s followers did during these celebrations - this is a family-friendly article, but it was significant enough to get them banished from Rome.

It seems that Cybele-worshippers were accused, among other things, of disgusting. degrading practices including castration and self-flagellation

In the British Isles and Celtic Europe, the goddess, Brigid, and her successor, St. Brigid, believed to have been an Irish nun, were honored with a spring Mother’s Day ceremony connected with the first milk of the ewes – baby lamb mothers.

God couldn't be everywhere, so he created mothers. - Jewish proverb

Grandmother-grandchild relationships are simple. Grandmas are short on criticism and long on love.

Fast forward to the 1600s.

On the fourth Sunday of Lent, we find that England celebrated a day called Mothering Sunday. Many poor people at that time worked as servants and apprentices in the homes of their employers. On Mothering Sunday, they were given permission to go home to visit their mothers – if they didn’t live too far away.

They brought their respective mothers a special delicacy called a mothering cake. What kind of cake was it? It was a sort of fruitcake or fruit-filled pastry known as simnels. How was it made? It was boiled in water (?), then baked, and finished with an almond icing. I can relate to the icing, not the cake.

In northern England and Scotland, the cake was replaced by pancakes called carlings made with butter-fried peas. In some places this special mothers’ day was called Carling Sunday. By the 19th century, however, this holiday and its respective delicacies had vanished.

A grandmother is a babysitter who watches the kids instead of the television.

All that I am or hope to be I owe to my angel mother. – Abraham Lincoln

"Mama" by the Spice Girls

Julia Ward Howe (May 27, 1819  October 17, 1910)
Julia Ward Howe (May 27, 1819 October 17, 1910)
Anna Marie Jarvis (May 1, 1864 -November 24, 1948)
Anna Marie Jarvis (May 1, 1864 -November 24, 1948)

Back in the U.S.A.

Mother’s Day was first suggested by Julia Ward Howe In1872, You may remember her as the author of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” – set to the music of “John Brown’s Body.” Julia began promoting the idea of a Mother’s Day to be celebrated on June 2nd to honor peace, motherhood and womanhood. The following year women in eighteen American cities held such gatherings and Mrs. Howe sponsored these celebrations in Boston.

In 1890, Anna Marie Jarvis began a campaign in Philadelphia to establish a national Mother’s Day holiday. Anna had never married but was very attached to her mother. When her mother died, she began a letter-writing campaign to gain support of influential businessmen, ministers and congressmen in declaring a national holiday. She believed children often neglected to appreciate their mother enough while she was living, and hoped that a Mother’s Day would strengthen family bonds.

In 1912, West Virginia became the first state to adopt an official Mother’s Day. In 1914, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution establishing the holiday to emphasize women’s role in family life.

This holiday is now celebrated not only in the United States but in other parts of the world including Great Britain, Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Italy and Australia.

So whether you prefer a Mother’s Day cake, a fruitcake, pea pancakes, chocolates, flowers, toiletries or a gift, please send your mother and grandmother a token of your love on this holiday.

To My Mother
For all the times you picked me up, when I first learned to walk.
For all the times you read to me, when I’d not learned to talk.
And gently tucked me into bed, and let the light stay lit.
And held me close for all those shots, they really hurt a bit.

For all those times you went without, those shoes or that new dress.

To save the money for things I’d need, you managed to do with less.

For everything we shared, the dreams, the laughter and the tears.

I will always love you with a Special Love that deepens year by year.

(Dedicated to Lee and Sophie)

Footnote: Hallmark reports that about 96% of American consumers take part in some way in Mother's Day.

Books for Mother

© Copyright BJ Rakow Ph.D. 2011. All rights reserved. Author, "Much of What You Know abut Job Search Just Ain't So." An enlightening book about job search with dynamic facts about interviewing, negotiating, networking, and creating a powerful resume. 


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    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      6 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you for finding this, Sunshyne (OMG, I've been spelling that word wrong all these years). Thanks for the 'great,' the Up and 'more.' If you enjoy history, you might also like to take a look at my hub: "Fathers Day History and Famous Fathers."

    • Sunshyne1975 profile image


      6 years ago from California, US

      Great hub, voted up and more.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      7 years ago from south Florida

      Nice to meet you, sarakhuja. 'Nice ha' to you, too. Thanks for stopping by.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      nice ha

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, FashionFame - very nice to meet you. I will visit you, too.

      Thanks for the very kind comments.

    • FashionFame profile image


      8 years ago from California

      very informative hub drbg. Liked your other hubs too. Since Mother's Day is fast approaching, FashionFame is providing all its readers and followers a chance to win 25 beautiful Dogeared Sterling Silver Necklaces as Mothers Day Gift. All you have to do is, enter the FashionFame Contest as soon as possible, because the offer is valid for very limited time period.

      Visit: Mothers Day Giveaway page ( ) for more details.

      Following your hubs and would like to invite you to join mine. Thanks :)

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      Wow - you ARE a donut maven, froggie, dear. I will have to seriously consider your (?) request.

    • frogdropping profile image


      8 years ago

      Ooooo a donut hub. Yummy. Though I suppose you'll have to ignore the fat rat stuff and additives. Just concentrate on the deliciousness and super sugariness. And the hole. Or the cream if it lacks the hole. And the jam *mmmmmmm* and - and - just write it lol!

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, fd - I understand what you are saying. Some holidays, unfortunately, remind us of sadness and pain rather than joy.

      "Info rich"? What a nice comment! Thank you.

      Speaking of the history of things, is the reference to a donut a request for a hub?

    • frogdropping profile image


      8 years ago

      drbj I read this two days ago, very late at night :) I always used to celebrate Mother's Day, way back when I thought it was worth it. Now I don't. I also have a friend who refuses to acknowledge it as she claims it to be a load of rubbish. But then - she's a total misery lol!

      And so - your hub was info rich and an enjoyable read. You can't beat the history of anything. Unless of course it's a donut :)

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you, Money Glitch, for the rating and the accolade. I'm delighted you will be sharing this with your mom - it's the nicest reward I could have.

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 

      8 years ago from Texas

      Great idea drbj, you out done yourself on this one! This is a very good hub, I will be sharing this one with my mom on mothers day. Rating up!

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      Shari - glad you liked this hub and I would be honored and delighted to have you link your new hub to mine. When yours is completed let me know and I will reciprocate.

    • wavegirl22 profile image


      8 years ago from New York, NY

      drbj - this is a beautiful tribute to Moms. I loved reading the history of it. And the pictures and treats were (are) fabulous. Im almost done with another Hub and I found it interesting as the Hub is Quotes about Mom. . so I was wondering (and hoping) I could link this Hub to mine?? Let me know what you think . .



    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      Hello, Sage. Funny how some holidays just seem to sneak up on us. I decided to give Mother's Day a headstart.

      It was fun to do the rsearch for this hub; I learned a lot, too.

      Thank you for the visit and the very nice comments.

    • Sage Williams profile image

      Sage Williams 

      8 years ago

      Wow, Is Mother's Day is right around the corner again?

      I had no idea of the history behind Mother's Day. You certainly did some amazing research for this hub. I learned so much. Thanks so much for very interesting and well written hub.


    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you, Putz, for the visit and the comment.

      You are so right - being blessed with a great mother gives us a head start in life.

    • Putz Ballard profile image

      Putz Ballard 

      8 years ago

      Great hub and there is nothing more blessed than a great mothjer.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      You're right on target, Ivorwen.

      Some of the celebrations and customs of ancient civilizations (?) were unthinkable and depraved.

      But Mother's Day in today's world is a wonderful holiday, so I wish you and all mothers a beautiful, loving day.

    • Ivorwen profile image


      8 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      Sometimes, knowing the full history of certain holidays does not make them more appealing. The more I learn about the ancient Greeks and Romans, the more I wonder about 'celebrating' anything! Oh well, at least we have nice ways of celebrating today. :)

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      You're welcome, Maita.

      Give my regards to "su madre tambien." I know Tagalog is similar to Spanish so perhaps I'm using the appropriate words.

      Some day I hope to visit the Philippines because every person I've met who lives there is as sweet as that mothering cake.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      Herbi - thank you. I agree. Mothers are special and we need to remember them and honor them more than just once a year. Fathers, too.

    • prettydarkhorse profile image


      8 years ago from US

      Oh mothering cake, sweet drbj, Now I remember my mother who is in the Philippines, Thank you, Maita

    • theherbivorehippi profile image


      8 years ago from Holly, MI

      What an absolutely beautiful hub. Mother are truly something special!

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you, breakfastpop, youj've got that right! Thanks for the early visit. May your Mother's Day rock, too!

    • breakfastpop profile image


      8 years ago

      Beautiful hub. Mothers rock!


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