“Motherhood is neither a duty nor a privilege, but simply the way that humanity can satisfy the desire for physical immortality and triumph over the fear of death”
Dame Rebecca West
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ALL MOTHERS, NOW AND THEN
ÀS MÃES DE HOJE E DE SEMPRE, FELIZ DIA DAS MÃES
Mythology and Mother’s Day Celebrations
The earliest Mother’s Day celebrations may be traced back to Greek mythology and the commemoration of the ancient Spring festival honoring Rhea, the Mother of the Gods, also known as Magna Mater, the ‘great mother,’ though not a universal mother like Cybele, from Asia Minor, and with whom she was later identified. In Roman mythology Cybele was given the name of Magna Mater Deorum Idaea, a ‘mother goddess’ and, as a result of her popularity in Rome, religious ceremonies, and a holiday (Hilaria) honoring Cybele were celebrated by ancient Romans. According to historical readings, “the resemblances between Rhea and the Asiatic Great Mother, Phrygian Cybele, were so noticeable that the Greeks accounted for them by regarding the latter as only their own Rhea.“
A Spring Mother’s day was celebrated in Celtic Europe and the British Isles in honor of the goddess Brigid, and later her successor Saint Brigid. In keeping with the myth, it appears that this celebration was in connection with the first milk ewes. In the Celtic myth, the goddess Brigid, seen as a personification of a triple goddess, was known as Brigantia in Northern Britain, and also as The Three Blessed Ladies of Britain, and The Three Mothers. References to this goddess remark that Brigid took Christian vows, and upon her death she was canonized and given sainthood, Saint Bridget.
Some historians note that the worship to goddess Cybele was adopted by the early Christians to venerate Mary, and in early 17th century England commemorated a day to honor Mary. This event expanded, included all mothers, and Mothering Sunday began to be celebrated in Britain on the fourth Sunday in Lent. Mother’s Day in the United States seems to have been inspired by the British day, and it was first promoted by a social activist Julia Ward Howe to honor peace, motherhood and womanhood, after the American Civil War. However, the power behind the official establishment of Mother’s Day, was Anna Jarvis, daughter of Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker who, in 1868 coordinates a Mother’s Friendship Day. After her mother’s death in 1905 (on the second Sunday in May), Anna started a campaing to establish a national Mother’s Day, to “honor mothers, living and dead.” Her dream came through when the first Mother’s Day commemoration is marked on May 10, 1908 with a church service honoring her late mother. On May 9, 1914 the Presidential proclamation declared Mother’s Day, the 2nd Sunday of May, an official national holiday.
In 1915 Mother’s Day becomes an official holiday in Canada.
Today, many parts of the world celebrate this special day in honor of all mothers.
I am She
that is the natural
mother of all things,
mistress and governess
of all the elements,
the initial progeny of worlds,
chief of the powers divine,
Queen of all that are in the otherworld,
the principal of them
that dwell above,
and under one form
of all the Gods and Goddesses.
The Three Mothers of Burgundy, 3rd cent
Irene Maria F. Blayer
May 09, 2010
Goddess Cybele (Source: Dr. Vollmer’s Wörterbuch der Mythologie aller Völker. Stuttgart: Hoffmann’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1874)
Goddess Brigantia (Resource Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland)
The Three Mothers from Burgundy, 3rd Century CE (Source: http://www.ancientworlds.net/aw/Journals/Journal/697917)
Goddess Rhea (Source: Manual of Mythology, by Alexander S. Murray; Revised Edition, Philadelphia: David McKay, Publisher, 1895)
Campbell, Joseph. The Mythic Dimension: Selected Essays 1959-1987. Ed. Anthony Van Couvering (Harper SanFrancisco, 1997).
“Cybele.” Encyclopedia Mythica from Encyclopedia Mythica Online. <http://www.pantheon.org/articles/c/cybele.html> [Accessed May 09, 2010].
Green, Miranda Jane. Celtic Myths. (Third University of Texas Press, 1998)
Hyde, Walter Woodburn Paganism to Christianity in the Roman Empire (U. of Pennsylvania Press, 1946).
Lane, Eugene. Ed. Cybele, Attis, and Related Cults: Essays in Memory of M.J. Vermaseren(E.J. Brill, 1996).
Virgil. The Aeneid trans from Latin by West, David (Penguin Putnam Inc., 2003).