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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Evolution of Mother's Day

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From pagan worship of Mother Earth, Christian devotion of the Virgin Mary and "Mother Church", celebration of our earthly mothers, to commercial holiday.

In 7th century BCE, the poet Hesiod introduced the earth mother and called her Gaea. She is known as the one who gave birth to the sky, sea, mountains and the Titans. A few centuries later, Romans began the Hilaria festival, honoring Gaea's daughter Rhea. Meanwhile, in Asia similar celebrations were held honoring Cybele, Rhea's counterpart in Asia.

The pagan festival was later transformed by the Christians to honor Virgin Mary and the Church. Mothering Sunday was introduced in the 13th century where sons & daughters went back to the church where they were baptized on the Sunday before easter to offer gifts. This is also the time for them to visit and honor their earthly mothers with gifts.

Similarly, in the Celtic countries and the British Isles, Imbolc was celebrated to honor the powerful goddess Brighid. Christian leaders changed the goddess’ name to St. Brigid and Imbolc to St. Brigid’s day. This day is connected with the pregnancy and the milk of the ewes. By the 17th century St. Brigid's day became Mothering Sunday as well.

Anna Jarvis, started the Mother's day we celebrate today. Together with leaders of her church in Crafton, West Virginia, Anna decided to hold the very first Mother's day on the 2nd Sunday of May in 1908 to honor her own mother. She promoted this day to newspapers, businesses, church leaders and politicians. Eventually, in 1910 Mother's day became a state holiday in Virginia. In 1914, President Wilson made Mother's Day a national holiday.

Giving birth to a child is easy, being a mother is hard. To be a mother requires endless love, patience, respect, honesty, and understanding.

Celebrate Mother’s day in a more meaningful way. Kiss, hug and thank your earthly mother. Honor the mother goddess with a simple ritual or prayer. Visit your mother church and light a candle or offer a flower.

Mother’s Day is also an opportunity to know that we are all connected as sons and daughters of this earth. The air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, the clothes we wear, the houses that shelters us, all came from the earth. May we all remember to honor our Mother Earth as well, it is the only planet we can live in. Honoring Mother Earth can be as simple as creating a small garden, or conserving electricity. May we also honor ourselves and seek the Divinity which dwell in each and every one of us.

How will you celebrate this special day?

Happy Mother's Day to all!

An ye harm none. Do as ye will.

Blessed be.

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