Spiritual Traditions of Mother’s Day
by Ellie Blair
Mother’s Day has been recognised in special ways for thousands of years. It is celebrated in over 40 countries around the world. Many countries celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in the month of May, however many countries celebrate Mother’s Day at different times of the year. Thus the exact date and the way this event is celebrated varies from country to country since the time of Ancient Greece.
But whatever the date of Mother’s Day, the spirit is the same everywhere. Mothers are respected for their extreme devotion towards their children. They are showered with love, care and gifts items. It is the day when every child on earth pays their humblest tribute to their mothers and thank them for giving them birth and providing them with the best of care and upbringing. Here is a glimpse of some of today’s Mother’s Day celebrations as done worldwide. It’s nice to see the different ways in which this heart-warming occasion is celebrated.
Mother’s Day in South Africa
In South Africa, Mother’s day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May. The people of this country celebrate this day in its true spirit by acknowledging the importance of mothers in their lives, and thanking them profusely for all their love and care. People also gift flowers and cards as an expression of heartfelt gratitude. The most commonly used flowers on Mother’s Day in South Africa is the carnation: people wear pink and red carnations as an opportunity to thank not only their mothers but also grandmothers and women who are like their mothers.
Mother’s Day in Ireland
The history of celebrating Mothering Sunday or Mother’s Day in Ireland can be traced to the medieval practice, where children from poor families were sent to work as domestic servants and apprentices to work with the rich. Once in the year, in the middle of Lent, these children were given a day off to visit their ‘mother church’ and worship the Virgin Mary. After visiting the mother church or cathedral of their hometown, these children visited their biological mothers and presented them with flowers they picked along the way. Girls bake special mothering cake on the day.
A Native American Indian Prayer
For the Native American Indians, this celebration is devoted to Mother Earth. Enjoy this beautiful prayer in respect and honour of our Earth Mother:
Mother Earth hear your child, as I sit on your lap of grass. The soft and gentle raindrops are the tears you cry for your children. Teach me the lessons you offer. To nurture my children as you nurture yours and to learn to walk the path chosen so long ago. Mother Earth hear your child.
The Mother Goddess
Let’s not forget the importance of the Goddess in this acknowledgement of the mother figure. I would like to share a particular favourite of mine: the Celtic goddess Danu, who is said to have literally suckled the gods. In Irish mythology she is the mother of the earth, the gods, fertility, wisdom, wind and of all the Celtic people. The story of Danu lingers with her offspring, Tuatha De Danann, or people of the goddess Danu, who in Irish folklore are known as fairy people skilled in magic. When the Tuatha De Danann reached Ireland’s shores to wage war against the Fir Bolg, a race of evil giants, Danu provided them sustenance, life and law.
Great Mother Goddess
You who was there before all time
Arise from the watery abyss
From whence all life was created
Come to me, Ancient Mother
Teach me the ebb and flow of life
Help me understand that for things to be reborn,
they first must die
Show me the inner strength and gifts that lay inside
as my modern world engulfs me
Help me to remain connected to what is really important
Remind me of the messages in the wind
Great Mother Goddess
Nameless one but not forgotten
Let me honour you.
However you choose to celebrate this blessed day, be it in the light of love and gratitude for all that our mothers and symbolic mothers do for us.