Sunday 22 March 2009

Thinking on Mothering Sunday

As it is Mothering Sunday in the UK, I have been thinking about the origin of this celebration and whether it was appropriate for me as a Muslim. A little research has yielded the following possibilities:

One explanation I came across was this:

Mother's Day celebrations can be traced back to the spring celebrations of ancient Greece in honor of Rhea, wife of Cronus and the Mother of the Gods and goddesses. In Rome Mother's Day-like festival was dedicated to the worship of Cybele, another mother goddess. Ceremonies in her honor began some 250 years before Christ was born. This Roman religious celebration was known as Hilaria and it lasted for three days. Some say the ceremonies in honor of Cybele were adopted by the early church to venerate the Mother of Christ, Mary. Others believe the Mother Church was substituted for mother goddess and custom began to dictate that a person visit the church of his/her baptism on this day. People attended the mother church of their parish, laden with offerings. (source)

This would make such celebration completely inappropriate for me as it feels like shirk (joining partners with God, which is completely forbidden in islam). Another explanation I came across was the following:

Children as young as eight or nine would leave home to learn their trade as an apprentice or to become servants in the homes of the wealthy. These children usually were in neighboring towns, but transportation was hard to come by and expensive. For most of the year they did not get to see their family. During Lent, before preparations for the Easter feasts required them to be busy and back at work, the young people would be allowed to return to their homes and families for a weekend. This became known as "going a-mothering." Children walked the roads picking spring wildflowers to give to their mothers when they arrived back at their homes. (source)

This still indicates that the day is linked to Easter and the Church (it is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent rather than on a specific date).

In contrast to us, the American’s celebrate Mother’s Day in May. The day is considered to have originated as follows:

Julia Ward Howe called for an international Mother's Day celebrating peace and motherhood. Howe had nevertheless planted the seed that would blossom into what we know as Mother’s Day today. A West Virginia women’s group led by Anna Reeves Jarvis began to celebrate an adaptation of Howe’s holiday. In order to re-unite families and neighbors that had been divided between the Union and Confederate sides of the Civil War, the group held a Mother’s Friendship Day. [Following on from this] Anna M. Jarvis campaigned for the creation of an official Mother’s Day in remembrance of her mother and in honor of peace. By the time of Anna M. Jarvis's death, over 40 countries observed the Mother’s Day. (source)

The last explanation is one that seems very sweet and makes me think of formidable women of another time fighting for what they believe in. In any case, I got the following from the kids:

A daffodil from Little Man:

Much love from Little Lady:


  1. Umm salihah!

    Oh I have missed your posts; been to frazzled to do anything other than chase iBaby.

    This is a very good post, and have continued the subject over at my other budding (and hopefully more interesting blog) Hijabification.

    See you there inshallah & lots of love,


  2. Assalam-alaikam iMama,
    Wonderful! Does that mean iBaby has found his legs?

    I'm heading over to Hijabification...