Did you know these twelve strange-but-true motherly facts?
- In the UK, Mothering Sunday always falls on the 4th Sunday in Lent. But not so in the rest of the world. In the USA, thanks to a vigorous campaign by Ms Anna Jarvis in the early 1900s, Mother’s Day is celebrated annually on the second Sunday in May. Although Anna Jarvis never actually became a mother herself, she made a pledge on her mother’s death bed to fight for the establishment of a special day in the calendar to honour mothers. In 1914 she succeeded when President Woodrow Wilson enshrined the day in law.
- However Anna Jarvis hated Mother’s Day cards, calling them “a poor excuse for the letter you are too lazy to write.” Youch.
- The origins of the UK Mothering Sunday stretch back far longer, and are not what you might expect. Historically, poor families were often forced to send their children away to work as domestic servants for rich families – very often many miles away. The children were rarely given time off to visit home, however they were usually granted a Sunday off during Lent to return to their ‘mother church’, worship the Virgin Mary and take their mothers gifts. This day became known as Mothering Sunday.
- According to a survey conducted by Cafemom in 2012, some of the worst presents mums have received for Mother’s Day include anti-wrinkle cream, vacuum cleaners, and… er, a toilet. What most in fact wanted were trips to a spa, something handmade by their children and time off from chores!
- The U.S Bell telephone system was built with Mother’s Day in mind. The annual rush to wish mum a Happy Mother’s Day causes the mother of all phone traffic peaks, so Bell designed their operating system specifically to be able to cope with Mother’s Day. These days things are slightly different, given that there are so many means available for telling our mums how much they means to us, but more phone calls are still made on Mother’s Day than any other day of the year.
- In Britain we send around 23 million Mother’s Day cards, of which approximately 30% are homemade.
- In Britain Mother’s Day as a tradition had all but died out by the 19th But during the Second World War, Britain became home to thousands of U.S servicemen who brought their proud Mother’s Day traditions with them and it was once again resurrected.
- Where is the correct place for the apostrophe in ‘Mothers Day’?
- Mother’s Day
- Mothers’ Day
- Mothers Day
- All of the above
It all depends on how many mums you’re honouring of course. Anna Jarvis specifically noted that “Mother’s” should “be a singular possessive, for each family to honour its mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers of the world.” But if you answered (e) Don’t Know and Don’t Care, you’re in luck because all are considered appropriate ways of writing the name of the day. (If the day is to celebrate all mums, then it comes after the s. Or maybe it’s a day not belonging to any mum, but is simply a day about mothers in which case it’s Mothers Day.)
Photos by – FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Stuart Miles
There are plenty of people who will shout you down whichever usage you plump for though so for the avoidance of argument, it might be safest to use the term Mothering Sunday instead.
- In Nazi Germany, Mother’s Day took on new political significance. On this day, between 1939 and 1945, the Nazi Party awarded medals known as the ‘Mother’s Cross of Honour’. The medals (which came in gold, silver and bronze varieties, depending on how many children you had) were awarded to mothers who had provided the state with at least four children, and whom were considered exemplary motherly role models. Over 4.7 million of the awards were handed out in the six years they were in existence. Amongst other criteria for the gold award, a woman must have raised at least eight children, and there is evidence that a new ‘Diamond’ award was in the offing when the war came to an end in 1945, honouring mothers who had at least sixteen children.
- The highest recorded number of children born to one mother is 69. Yes, you read that right. Included in that count are sixteen sets of twins, seven sets of triplets, and four quadruplets. Given that these children were born in Russia in the 1700s, it is quite astonishing that 67 of them survived infancy. More recent contenders for the crown include Leontina Albina from San Antonio, Chile, who claims to be mother to 64 children, although only (Only!) 55 of them are documented. Just imagine how many daily loads of washing that would be.
- In the overwhelming majority of the world’s languages, the word mother begins with ‘m’. This is because the phonetic sound ‘m’ is the first a baby usually makes, and since mothers tend to be pretty important to babies, we associate that sound with their need for mum.
- The average mother changes 4,500 nappies in the first two years of a child’s life. That alone warrants a phone call home on Mother’s Day, don’t you think?
Don’t forget your mother this Mother’s Day, 15th March 2015.