Honouring Our Mothers

Mother's Day Gifts
Mother's Day blessings and love to you all! To all the Mums and Grandmothers with us or in spirit beloved by us, to all the fabulous Step Mums, Big Sisters, Aunties and Godmothers who have stepped in to help nurture and raise other peoples children and to all the Mums who for whatever reason can't be with their precious children. 
Without a doubt the toughest  and challenging job there is, but equally by far the most wonderful and rewarding labour of love!
Yesterday I was treated to the most scrummy breakfast of cheese and tomato omelette with rocket by Dan and David and today a gift of a beautiful card and an intriguing book that looks right up my street. I have to wait for tomorrow to see my baby as she is working hard all day making sure other people have a fabulous Mother's Day meal out - tomorrow being our day this year for our family to all share a meal and time together.
Being me, I was wondering about the roots of Mother's
Juno Lucina
Day - was it an ancient custom as opposed to being invented by Hallmark Cards or is that just an urban myth?  

A bit of both it turns out.
As far back as 275 BCE in Roman times, Matronalia or Matronales Ferie (Mother's Festival) was celebrated to honour Juno Lucina - Goddess of Motherhood, Childhood and Women in general on March 1st. This 'free day' or holiday meant that servants and slaves were free to attend and participate in rituals and feasts at temples honouring all things feminine, where they wore loose unbelted clothing and their hair loose as opposed to wearing it up which decorum of the time commanded - perhaps the origins of 'letting your hair down?' Gifts were received by women from their husbands and daughters.
Fast Forward a few centuries and Christianity had brought Mothering Sunday into being, traditionally marked on the 4th Sunday of Lent and 3 weeks before Easter. By the 16th Century in Britain people would celebrate at their 'Mother Church' - either at the local Cathedral or where they were baptised. Domestic 
Window at The Blessed
Virgin Chapel, Minster Abbey
servants being given time off to attend the services with their own Mothers and families and people would pick flowers along the way to place in the church - presumably to their 'Mother' the Virgin Mary and various cakes and sweet pastries would be made to celebrate.

By mid 19th Century in USA, both before and after the Civil War, a woman named Ann Reeves Jarvis had Mothers Day Work Clubs to promote better living conditions and reduce infant mortality through education and then post war Mother's Friendship Days to promote peace between divided communities and strive for peace. 
After she died her daughter Anna held a Mother's Day in 1908 to commemorate her Mother's work and those like her, this soon became observed throughout the USA as something like our Modern Mother's Day and before long the commercial element kicked in, sales of flowers and sweets rising annually and Hallmark producing  purpose made cards by the 1920's. Anna Jarvis fought against this commercialism for the remainder of her life.
Mix all of these elements together and you get todays flower, card and present fest, however  perhaps we haven't strayed too far from it's original roots if you minimise the commercial side. Most of us treat our Mums and buy flowers for them and for those who are no longer with us. It seems honouring our Motherline is a natural urge that has evolved in different forms throughout the centuries.
It was instinctive for me to buy flowers for my
A Shy Violet
family matriarchs that have gone before, I chose simple bunches of Daffodils that support a cancer charity and visited some of my Motherline who have gone before, some known to me, some only alive through stories shared to me by my Mum and her Mum before her. I am lucky that are real characters to me and I know where they rest a great deal of them in the same peaceful churchyard. Carefully arranging the bright yellow trumpeting blooms I cheerfully chattered away to these woman who are part of my DNA, telling them what we were all up to as if we were sitting round a table. Mercifully I had the churchyard to myself, though not for the first time a little bird followed me round the graves, joined today by a photographically elusive red admiral butterfly, alighting for a mere second near me to show me this shy violet peeping through the moss at me and then on the tiny forgetmenots that were budding on my Nan's grave. I felt so tantalisingly close to these women, talking about issues that they too would have dealt with and minutiae of life that even my great, great grandmother who I sat awhile with would have recognised.

Lily For Our Lily
Finally I spent a couple of hours with my own Mum this afternoon, took her some flowers and small gift of a set of personalised cards giving 10 reasons why I love her, well the top ten of anyway - owing our random collection of tea towels being one of them - the stock joke souvenir gift of choice in our family! 
We spent a lovely afternoon chatting, laughing, reminiscing and generally counting our blessings, looking forward to our Feast tomorrow. Yet more tales were told and memories shared, weaving together an invisible tapestry of our motherline that will be passed on to future generations when the time is right. How many times must this have happened over the centuries in my line alone? Generations of women bound by love and stories, daughters and wisdom. Truly a blessing.

Have A Blessed Week

References: storify.com/MDKendell/matronalia


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