In most countries, we celebrate Mothers’ Day in May. Even if we offer the same flowers year on year, our mothers welcome them with the same love and kindness as always.
Mother’s day is no recent invention: going back thousands of years, the Ancient Greeks celebrated Rhea (or Cybele), the mother of Zeus and all of the gods on Mount Olympus. Across the Adriatic, the Romans celebrated Mater Matuta, the goddess of dawn and childhood, at the festival of Matraliae (from the Latin “mater” for mother). This was held in the first half of June, in the days leading up to the summer solstice.
Many centuries later, Napoleon is credited with bringing back an occasion to celebrate the mater familias in France. Mother’s Day as we know it now, however, dates back to 1907 in the United States, when a young girl asked the local authorities to set aside a day in honour of mothers everywhere. Hers had just passed away that month, in the first few days of May, and now, over a century later, most countries around the world have picked up on this American narrative and celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of the fifth month of the year, which in 2021 is the 9th of May.
Spain differs slightly, with la día de la madre falling on the first Sunday of the month. In the other direction, the fête des mères takes place on the last Sunday of May in France and many other francophone countries, if it does not coincide with Whit Sunday. If it does, it is pushed back to the first Sunday of June. It can be a real headache keeping up with it! It’s really not surprising that many of us get mixed up with the date. And even less so that we leave it to the last minute and run out to the florist!
In general, the British are known for planning their celebrations in advance. From Mothering Sunday to Halloween and even Valentine’s Day, the festivities and their associated retail campaigns are planned well ahead. Maybe it’s because they are more pragmatic and less disorganised? Or maybe they just don’t share the Mediterranean appreciation of flowers - both literally and figuratively?
These colourful spring bouquets are guaranteed to lift the heart of any mother, even if they are more or less identical to last year’s offerings. And the year before that… You could at least hide the bouquet behind your back when you ring the doorbell to create some kind of surprise. Or even try something new, and give her a watch this Mother’s Day - what better symbol of a maternal bond which stands the test of time? Give her something special and deeply personal, a gift that won’t wilt after a single day.
scover our gift ideas for Mother's Day
Text: Frédéric Martin-Bernard