Mother's Day and Mothering Sunday
How we show our love
When I decided that this would be my next Hub, little did I know the surprise in store. The idea just popped into my head, probably fuelled by all the hype of the upcoming Mother's Day. Perfect gifts for Mother. Buy Mom an Ipod. Mom's Day bouquet. Need I go on, you have seen them, heard them, read them on the Internet. You would have to be a hermit to miss them. Now I am from the U.K. and when my Mum was alive and I was living in the USA, I would be constantly chided for missing the date. In the U.K. it is not Mother's Day, it is Mothering Sunday quite a different holiday.
Mothering Sunday is the second Sunday in Lent and was traditionally the day that servant girls were given the day off to visit their mothers. The girls would bake and take home a Simnel cake as a gift. The Simnel cake in the USA is a traditional Easter cake but quite similar. The rich cake has many variants, but the decoration is always the same. The cake is covered with sweet almond paste, usually with a layer of it in the middle and sports a ring of Almond paste balls around the perimeter at the top. There are eleven balls to represent the twelve Apostles minus Judas. The cake recipe that I always used was a yeast based cake which imparted a rich warm feel to the cake. It was exciting to make and a little challenging as yeast cookery can be very difficult living in a cold country in a home with only a coal fire for heat Never the less it was always well received and quite delicious. The whole family would sniff the delicious warm scents emanating from the kitchen while it was baking. My two younger brothers would stand around waiting for scraps of the sweet almond paste, volunteering to help roll out the little paste balls the size of a two shilling piece to represent the Apostles. It was eagerly devoured at tea time on Mothering Sunday and never lasted beyond the day. It was the only time in Lent when feasting was allowed b the church.
Mother's Day in the USA is so commercialised I always thought of it as purely a "Hallmark Occasion" The advertising hype surrounding the day is unavoidable with even my email in box being deluged with ideas for Mother's Day gifts. They quickly get dumped into the spam box as (a) My dear old Mum is no longer with us, having passed on in 2006, And (b) I am broke at the moment, like the rest of us battling this recession. None the less, the general consensus is that MOM deserves vastly expensive gifts. The sweetest Mother's Day card I ever received came to light recently in an old book. It was handmade by my son Alasdair while at elementary school with a sweet message and a lovely hand drawn picture. That is all I want!
Mother's Day has got out of hand. Did you know that the lady who brought us Mother's Day fought for ten years to get congress to agree to devote one special day to our richly deservig hardworking Moms. That lady was Anne Jarvis who was unmarried and never had a child. Her concept was to honor her mother. Eventually Congress granted her wish. The first Mother's day was celebrated on the second Sunday on May 8th 1914, the anniversary of her mother's death.. A Presidential Proclamation was made calling for public observance of the day and the flying of the American Flag to honor American Mothers. It is still marked by Presidential Proclamation to this day. Anne Jarvis wanted children to give their moms a single white carnation and a heartfelt letter and now look at it! She was so outraged by the flood of commercialisation of the special day that she spent the rest of her life fighting it using all her inheritance to do so. She ended up sick and penniless dying in a mental institution in 1948.sad and defeated.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if today we gave our moms a heartfelt letter and a white carnation. I still have every Mother's Day card hand drawn by my two children and I treasure them.Even Martha Stewart has jumped on the Mother's Day band waggon with a new book in time for Mother's Day which has hand made gift ideas, but it is heading in the right direction! http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/news/2009-05-03-martha-mothers-day_N.htm?csp=DailyBriefing Better a hand made present than the Ipod suggested by Apple!
Happy Mother's Day to all Moms and Mums out there! Let me know what you would like best to receive for Mother's Day!