Mum’s the Word: Some history and a limerick.

It would not be unrealistic to think that mothers’ day has its origins in a greeting card company’s board room.  But no – it can be traced all the way back to Greek and Roman times.  In Greek mythology Rhea, daughter of the earth Goddess Gaia, and the sky God Uranus, was considered the Mother of Gods and people celebrated her in Spring, with flowers.  

The Romans celebrated their Mother of Gods, Cybele, with a festival on the first day of the year when daylight was longer than darkness.  

France celebrate their mothers on the fourth Sunday in May (26th this year) with flowers and food.  Napoleon tried to popularise a day to celebrate women who had a large number of children.  However, it wasn’t until 1920, when the French population was in decline, that Mothers Day was resurrected in earnest.  Women having more than a certain number of children were to be honoured with the Medal of the French Family: 

Bronze for four to five children.

Silver for six or seven children.

Gold for eight or more children. 

It has to be proven that the children are being raised in the best material and moral conditions.  The medals are still awarded today and are now given to both men and women.

The UK celebrate Mothers Day on Sunday 31st March.  Restaurants will be full: card-shops will have been stripped: florists exhausted and wrapping paper given a deuxieme vie after the Christmas rush.  Living in France, I won’t be with Mum on the 31st, but I will of course, be sending a card!  In it I’ll include my limerick: Thanks, Mum.

I know a smart woman: my Mum,

who going out with is always great fun.

Any problem I share

she’ll always be there.

I’m so happy I grew in her tum.


Sarah Tyley

Debut Novel, Spaghetti Head, available now at

   Mum’s the Word: Some history and a limerick. Sarah Tyley

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