The huge gap since my last post is due to a move, so my apologies.
It's a little hard to believe in our modern era of brunch and flowers for Mother's Day, but having a day to honor mothers actually has a long history. The ancient Greeks and Romans honored mother goddesses such as Cybele and Juno during the spring. For our Medieval ancestors, this evolved into celebrating Lady Day on the Spring Equinox (around March 25th), in honor of the Virgin Mary. One of the early calls for a mother's day in America was the impassioned poetry of Julia Ward Howe, author of Battle Hymn of the Republic. In her Mother's Day Proclamation, Howe expresses her horror at the bloodshed of the Civil War, and calls on her fellow mothers to use their role within the home to teach their children peace, as well as to become an active voice for peace outside of that sphere.
The idea of a mother's day gained ground and eventually became official in 1912 thanks to Anna Jarvis,
who campaigned tirelessly after the death of her own mother to make the day official. She, like Howe, wanted people to be active in their approach to the day, and was appalled by the chocolate and flowers approach that gained momentum in the 1920's:
A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.
This Mother's Day, in honor of these impressive ladies, and your own hardworking mother, take an active approach to mother's day! Take time this Mother's Day to remember that being a mother isn't always a cut-and-dried case of who gave birth to you, either. Mothers come in all shapes and sizes: working, stay-at-home, birth mother, adoptive parent, foster mom, even religious or educational mentors sometimes fill that role. Take a moment to remember our Mother Earth, or if you're religiously inclined, your faith's understanding of the feminine divine. Instead of sending a card or ecard, sit down, pull out the stationary, and write your mom a letter. Even if it's late, I'm sure she'll love it even more. If she loves gardening, give her seeds or starts so she can actually grow pretty flowers (and help her do it!). Plant a tree!
Even better(unbiased, of course, since this is a food blog), make candy or a good old-fashioned meal instead of taking her out. If you don't know how, most mothers or grandmothers would love to teach you. If you'd rather surprise her, Food Network has sample menus for every taste, skill level, and budget.
How will you be an active participant this year?