Motherly May

May: The Month
 for All Things Motherly

Mother’s Day is celebrated all over the world. From Nepal to Israel to Panama, people everywhere are paying tribute to mothers and to motherhood; it’s a centuries’ tradition that takes place between February and June each year, depending upon the culture and its calendar.

With origins that date back to the ancient Greeks who celebrated a holiday that paid homage to Rhea the mother of the gods and the ancient Romans who enjoyed the holiday Matronalia in which mothers were usually given gifts, today’s Mother’s Day customs are still as varied as the cultures who keep them.

For example, Israeli’s have woven the idea of Mother’s Day into their celebration of Henrietta Szold who had no biological children. Szold is revered for the organization she founded. “Youth Alilyah” rescued many Jewish children from the Nazi German and took care of them. Because she was thought of as the “mother” of all these children, her birthday was set as Mother’s Day (Shevat 30 which falls anywhere between January 30 and March 1.). Over time the day’s significance has evolved and is now about mutual love inside the family celebrated by kindergarten children. 

Panama celebrates Mother’s Day earlier than most other countries. Unlike Norway which marks Mother’s Day as the first Sunday in February, Panamanians have chosen December 8 which is the same day as the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Panama’s President Florencio Harmodio Arosemena had a law passed in 1930 to change that country’s original from May 11. 

In Europe and the UK Mother’s Day follows the traditions of Mothering Sunday which is a Christian festival that occurred on the fourth Sunday in Lent to honor the Virgin Mary and the "mother" church of that particular region. Some records state that children who served in houses were given a day off at that date so they could visit their family. It was believed that the children would pick wild flowers along the way as a gift for the either their mothers or their church.

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