10 March 2010
Persephone Books sent out an email this week with a special deal in honor of what is known in the UK as “Mothering Sunday”. Originally a pagan observance, it later turned into a Christian holiday when believers would make a pilgrimage to their mother church or the nearest cathedral. In the UK it is now synonymous with Mother’s Day as it is known here in the USA. Although I think the name “Mothering Sunday” sounds a bit corny, I kind of like the name better than Mother’s Day. “Mothering” with all its verbish suggestions of action rather than just a state of being opens the door to varied interpretation. Perhaps anyone who provides a little mothering to someone in need could be honored on Mothering Sunday regardless of their gender or reproductive ability.
Last weekend in Philadelphia we stumbled across a plaque right in front of City Hall that honored Anna Jarvis the West Virginia native who campaigned to establish Mother’s Day. According to Wikipedia it was started in response to Jarvis losing her own mother, but according to the plaque it came into being in response to the rise of feminism. John Wanamaker, the department store impresario became a big supporter and it was eventually recognized by Congress in 1914.