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On Mother's Day

Mother’s Day…. Something that was so simple when I was a kid is these days fraught with errors. There are those that think its too commercial. Those who think its insensitive to talk about it, as there are those who have no mothers, don’t get along with their mothers, are not able to be mothers. Those who want to shout about their perfect husbands and children and their shiny internet lives from the rooftops and make us all feel inferior. 

Did you know, Mother’s Day wasn’t originally a commercial holiday? During the Middle Ages in England, it was traditionally a day on which those who had moved away from their homes to work or to marry were allowed to visit their home parishes, and therefore their mothers. This became known, and is still known by some in the UK, as Mothering Sunday after a bible verse:

"Be glad, barren woman, you who never bore a child; shout for joy and cry aloud, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband."

Galatians 4:27

I have to say though I’m not quite sure what that has to do with Mother’s Day in its current form, but there you are - history is not always linear!

In its modern form, it actually originated in the USA. A woman named Anna Jarvis from Philadephia organised a memorial service for her mother on May 12, which was the second Sunday in May. Her mother had been much loved and active in the community, organising groups to help promote women’s health and friendship. Within five years, every state in the USA was observing the day, and in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson made it a national holiday.

Although Jarvis had promoted the wearing of a white carnation as a tribute to one’s mother, the custom developed of wearing a red or pink carnation to represent a living mother or a white carnation for a mother who was deceased. Over time the day was expanded to include others, such as grandmothers and aunts, who played mothering roles. What had originally been primarily a day of honour became associated with the sending of cards and the giving of gifts, however, and, in protest against its commercialisation, Jarvis spent the last years of her life trying to abolish the holiday she had brought into being.

I was quite interested to learn that a few days ago - I hadn’t ever known the origin of what we celebrate as Mother’s Day until then, I guess I just never thought to find out. As a mother who is without a mother, I was quite touched that Mother’s Day is at its core about celebrating a mother who is no longer with us. My mum was a great celebrator - she loved an occasion, a reason to bring everyone together, feed lots of people and pop a champagne cork. We always made a huge fuss of her on Mother’s Day because she always put so much effort into making a fuss of us all the other days of the year. 

As my boys have gotten older, all I really want is for them to come home for Mother’s Day. The flowers and cards and presents are all nice, but we spent Mother’s Day night watching football and playing board games in front of the fire. That to me is more of a gift than anything wrapped in paper, and I would give anything to have one more night like that with my own mother. 

Anyway thats all very maudlin! Here’s something fun for your Wednesday - did you see Tula’s Tuesday video yesterday?? She offered to make me the bag when she was here, but I had no idea she was going to go to so much trouble. Aren’t I lucky to have such a lovely friend??

Now I need to think of something to make her to say thank you in return!

To celebrate the imminent arrival of my amazing bag with the Simple Folk animals on it, use the StitchyMites only code TULABAG for 20% off my Simple Folk pattern book, valid until next Wednesday May 22. 

Have a wonderful week peeps - I promise to be more cheerful next Wednesday. One more week of the Courting Sew Along and then we can start our colour lessons - I’ve been planning!

Sarah x

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