Mum's the word - or is it?
Hi everyone, it's Jennifer here!
I hope you're all well. Here in the UK, people are gearing up to celebrate Mother's Day, which will be on Sunday 18th March.
It's a celebration which honours motherhood and for many sons and daughters, it's an opportunity to thank their mother for bringing them up.
Like many celebrations and festivals, Mother's Day - or Mothering Sunday - had religious roots here in the UK. In the sixteenth century, it was a day when children who had gone to work as domestic servants were given the day off to go home and visit their family.
Once a year, children would be permitted to go home and make a visit to their 'mother' church - that is, the church near their family's home - and on the way, many would pick violets or wild flowers to take to church, or to give to their mother.
Many countries have a specific day on which they honour and thank their mother, with similar roots in many religions and cultures. I suppose the matriarch is such an important figure in most types of society, it's no wonder that Mother's Day has developed in the way it has.
Nowadays it's an extremely commercial festive day, with some people spending hundreds of pounds on greetings cards, chocolates, flowers and presents for their mum. There's a lot of pressure to prove your love through the buying of fancy gifts. If you've got brothers and sisters, it can become a case of sibling rivalry or one-upmanship when it comes to buying the best present for Mum.
And that leads me on to my next Mother's Day observation. In English, it's rare to address the person that brought you into the world directly as 'Mother'. It's more common to call her 'Mum', or little ones might call her 'Mummy'; very little ones, 'Mamma'.
But I come from Newcastle, in the north-east of England, where the word 'Mum' would sound exceedingly posh and out of place. My mother is affectionately called 'Mam', and this spelling and pronunciation is common throughout many parts of the UK.
In the past, I've always felt a bit silly sending a greetings card with 'Thanks Mum' written on the front, as it just isn't what I would normally call her, so it didn't feel right. But, to my delight, on a recent trip home, someone has recognised a gap in the market for us northerners who want to spoil our mothers, and a card shop has introduced a whole new aisle of cards for 'Mam' and 'Mammy'.
On Sunday, I'll be sending flowers and a card, with a promise of a trip up north to see my 'Mam' very soon, but I hope that she thinks I'm a good daughter all year round, and not just on Mother's Day!
Do you celebrate Mother's Day in your country? I'd love to know what the traditions are in your culture, so get in touch and let me know!
gearing up to - preparing to
bringing them up - rearing them
matriarch - female head of the family
commercial - for profit
sibling rivalry - competition between brothers and sisters
one-upmanship - the act of trying to do something better than someone else
posh - upper-class
a gap in the market - an opportunity to sell something new