Sunday, 26 March 2017

Mothering Sunday - What Mothers Are All About!



Writer and poet Pam Brown says, “Women feel guilty to sit down and do nothing. Usually they are spared this emotion.” 

This is true, but Birthdays and Mother’s Day are different. On these special occasions, enjoyment is mandatory and guilt is banned.

Mum's Special Days
Years ago, in my own childhood, paste brooches fashioned into the word “Mother” with shiny stones were popular for mothers' birthday presents. They were priced to suit a child’s pocket money, and the child would feel s/he was giving Mum a wonderful and valuable gift! Nowadays, of course, gifts are likely to be more sophisticated than this, but the old tradition of sparing Mum the daily grind of cooking and housework by taking on some of her chores still holds good.

It’s claimed that the tradition of celebrating Mothering Sunday dates back to the 16th century. A young girl in service would bake a Simnel cake to take home to her mother on her day off. The Simnel cake was a fruit cake, rather similar to a Christmas cake. On top would be 11 blobs of marzipan for 11 disciples, excluding sneaky Judas who fell out of favour for betraying Jesus! Due to this tradition, Mothering Sunday has also been known as Simnel Sunday.

There is a legend about a married couple called Simon and Nell. They had a row about whether the Mothering Sunday cake should be baked or boiled. They solved their disagreement by doing both, so the cake was named after both of them: SIM-NELL = Simnel. 

Tender Quotations About Mothers
“The God to whom little boys say their prayers has a face very like their mother’s.” ~ James M. Barrie, Peter Pan, 1915.
“God could not be everywhere, so therefore he made mothers.” ~ The Talmud.
“The joys of parents are secret, and so are their griefs and fears.” ~ Francis Bacon, Essays, 1925.
“If I were damned of body and soul, / I know whose prayers would make me whole, / Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine.” ~ Rudyard Kipling, The Light That Failed, 1891.

Uncomfortable Truths About Having Children?
“Parents love their children more than children love their parents.” ~ Auctoritates Aristotellis: a compilation of medieval propositions.
“Children begin by loving their parents; after a time they judge them; rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.” ~ Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance, 1893.
“Parents learn a lot from their children about coping with life.” ~ Muriel Spark, The Comforters, 1957.
“The thing that impresses me most about America is the way parents obey their children.” ~ Edward VIII, 5 March, Look, 1957.

Ironic Observations on Mothers and Children
“Children aren’t happy with nothing to ignore, / And that’s what parents were created for.” ~ Ogden Nash, “The Parent,” 1933.
“Oh, what a tangled web do parents weave / When they think their children are naïve.” ~ Ogden Nash, “Baby, What Makes the Sky Blue?” 1940.
“No matter how old a mother is she watches her middle-aged children for signs of improvement.” ~ Florida Scott-Maxwell, Measure of my Days, 1968.
“Mother always said that honesty was the best policy, and money isn’t everything. She was wrong about other things too.” ~ Gerald Barzan.

The Sweetest Verse Ever Written to Motherhood
The following verse was written by Alice Meynell, who lived from 1847 to 1922. It was a heart-stopping moment when a Victorian poetry book fell open at this page, by chance, revealing this little poem, called “Maternity.” There is a strange and haunting beauty in its sadness.
One wept whose only child was dead, / New-born ten years ago. / “Weep not; he is in bliss,” they said, / She answered, “Even so, / Ten years ago was born in pain / A child, not now forlorn. / But oh, ten years ago, in vain, / A mother a mother was born.”

Actual Date for Mothering Sunday May Depend on Calendar Anomalies – and Your Location
Mothering Sunday is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Lent runs from Ash Wednesday to the day before Easter Sunday and, therefore, Mother’s Day is celebrated on a different date each year. Sometimes it’s in March and sometimes in April.
The United States have a different festival which is not historically related to the UK Mothering Sunday.

Sources:

3,500 Good Quotes for Speakers, Ed. Gerald F. Lieberman, Thornson's Publishers Ltd., 1984.
The Little Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, Ed. Susan Ratcliffe, Oxford University Press, 1984.
Pocket Treasury of Great Quotations, Readers' Digest, 1978.
A Woman's Notebook, Exley Publications, Undated.
Victorian Women Poets, An Anthology, Eds: Angela Leighton and Margaret Reynolds, Blackwell, Oxford, UK, Cambridge, USA, 1995.


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