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article imageMankind has celebrated Mother's Day for a long time

By Karen Graham     May 7, 2015 in Lifestyle
Mother's Day will fall on May 10 this year in the U.S. But around the world, mothers are celebrated, maybe not on May 10, but sometime in the spring. Regardless of where in the calendar the day might fall, Mother's Day is a day of love and remembrance.
Mothers are the givers and sustainers of life, the first warmth and smell a newborn learns to associate with being human, of being loved and cared for. Mothers are our protectors and teachers, the one person we can always rely on to be waiting for us when we are in need of a hug or perhaps, even a scolding, because we know her words will be gently softened by love.
Isn't it strange that we celebrate mothers differently than we celebrate fathers? It may have a lot to do with how we have observed the importance of mothers all through our history on planet Earth. Historically, great emphasis was put on honoring Mother Earth, the giver of all things, simply because that is what a mother does.
Upper Paleolithic  Venus von Willendorf  estimated to have been carved 24 000–22 000 BCE.
Upper Paleolithic, Venus von Willendorf, estimated to have been carved 24,000–22,000 BCE.
In prehistoric times, the female was looked on as the giver of life, and the one that sustained the family group, finding food, taking care of the young in the group. She was the sustainer of life. Yes, the male was the hunter and protector, but the woman's role made her revered. It is easy to see how a reverence was formed for the natural world around them, especially when the witnessed the annual rejuvenation of nature, seen as a rebirth of life.
In Greco-Roman culture, it was believed the Earth was female and nurtured humans. But the personification of an Earth mother goes even further back, to ancient cultures in the Middle East. In Sumeria, the name of the Earth goddess was Ki. In Cuneiform writing, KI is the sign for Earth.
In every culture, in every civilization there was an archetypal mother as part of the collective unconsciousness of the people. Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist Carl Gustav Jung speculated this perhaps explains the universality of mother goddess imagery in cultures around the world.
Mother Earth and Mothering day evolves into the celebration we know today
The ancient Greeks had a cult dedicated to the goddess Cybele, and her celebration occurred during the vernal equinox. The ancient Romans also celebrated Cybele during the vernal equinox, called the festival of Hilaria. Many people may not know this, but the early Christian church had a celebration called Mothering Sunday, held in the spring of the year.
Emblem 2d:  Nutrix ejus terra est.  of Michael Maier  Atalanta Fugiens  circa: 1617/1618
Earth Mothe...
Emblem 2d: "Nutrix ejus terra est." of Michael Maier, Atalanta Fugiens, circa: 1617/1618 Earth Mother image from an alchemical text.
Alexander Roos
In the early 17th century in the United Kingdom, Christians would return to the main church or cathedral, the "mother-church" for a service held during the fourth Sunday of the Lenten season, usually between March 1st and April 4th.
But the Christians weren't honoring their mothers, they were honoring the mother-church. Mothering Day soon evolved into a day where domestic servants were given the day off to visit the mother church with their own mothers, eventually becoming the secular holiday celebrated in the U.K. today.
Of course, people in the United States were late to get in on the celebration of mothers, and sadly, Anna Jarvis, the woman who instigated the whole holiday in 1908, ended her life penniless in a sanitarium, in a state of dementia. You can read her story in Digital Journal.
Today, Mother's Day is big business. Over 120 million Mother's Day cards are sent annually, and more people purchase flowers and plants for their special mother on Mother's Day than any other holiday, except Christmas and Hanukkah.
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), this year, it is estimated that consumers will spend $21.2 billion on celebrating Mother's Day. And while 80 percent of people will send cards, send flowers, 62.5 percent, or even take mom out to eat, 54.2 percent, the biggest amount of money will be spent on jewelry, worth $62,985, up from $59,862 spent in 2013.
Jewelry? Really? A visit and a nice lunch is fine with me. Happy Mother's Day to all the moms.
More about Mothers day, Spring, earth mother, Deity, Celebration
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