Mums the word

by Amy Lawlor

This year, Mother’s Day will fall on March 26th.  The day is annually used to celebrate mams, step-mams, grandmothers and even great grandmothers across Ireland, writer Amy Lawlor takes a look at where the celebratory day began and what you can buy your mam this Mother’s day.

The origin of Mother’s Day dates back to ancient Greek times, but the way in which we celebrate it today by gifting our mams with flowers, cards and most importantly chocolate began in America in the early 20th Century.

The ancient Greeks dedicated an annual spring festival to the ‘Maternal Goddesses’ and the ancient Romans too recognised the importance of celebrating our mothers by also holding a spring festival. The Romans festival was known as ‘Hillaria’ and its purpose was celebrate a mother goddess called Cybele.

A tradition dating back to the 1600s in England said that some people would return to their ‘mother church,’ usually the church in which they were baptised or attended services when they were children. The aim of this gathering was to reunite communities who hadn’t seen each other for a while.

By 1911, Mother’s Day was celebrated in almost every US state and on May 8th, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a joint resolution document that confirmed every second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

Nowadays Mother’s Day can be celebrated in a number of ways, but most people mark the occasion by getting their mams a present or performing a small gesture out of kindness to express their appreciation for their loved one.

It can be difficult to know what to buy especially if your budget isn’t at its best. If your mammy is truly Irish however, she’ll love a good cup of tea or coffee so treating her to a taste of Downtown Abbey dining by whisking her off on a special ‘Afternoon Tea’ experience would be an ideal way to spoil her.

Mocha’s Vintage Tea Room Restaurant, in Kilkenny is reasonably priced at €25 per person but it’s suggested to avoid disappointment that you book early. This retro tea room has gorgeous homemade treats and desserts to die for.

The Castlemartyr Resort, Cork treats your mam like a Lady with a decadent five-star Afternoon Tea that will make her feel like royalty. The mouth-watering menu, which is €29 pp, boasts everything from a sweet treat to start and there’s even a Children’s Afternoon Tea menu (€15) which is great for the little ones. The Lady Fitzgerald Afternoon Tea experience is like stepping back in time with the old worldly decor and service to boot.

Finally, Ruby Ellen’s Tea Room in Co. Louth is offering one of the cheapest Afternoon Teas around at just €12.95 pp. This quaint tea room in Carlingford provides customers with a variety of freshly made sandwiches, scones and something nice served with tea and coffee.

Although Afternoon Tea is just a suggestion as to what to get your mam this Mother’s day there are no set rules about what to offer her on this special day. Plenty of people however, kick things off with a nice breakfast in bed. For those with younger kids, this may just be jam on toast, or even just a mess on a tray, while the oldies may want to whip up some eggs and a freshly squeezed OJ. Either way, she’s sure to think it’s perfect.

Lots of people also opt for a bunch of flowers with tulips being a good value, seasonal choice. Simnel cake is also traditionally associated with Mother’s Day, with people traditionally preparing one for their family to mark the occasion. It is a simple fruit cake decorated with marzipan and with marzipan baked into the centre.

One really different yet conventional Mother’s Day gift idea would be trendy tableware and one or many cookbooks to go with them. It is important to choose the present as per her style of cooking and serving. With the ever decreasing home space, the need for welcoming greens inside our homes is more prominent than ever. Home gardens is a trend that is fast catching up with people integrating the inside and the outside of their homes. Your mother is going to love this innovative, unique yet useful gift idea. Indoor plants, small herbs in pots, flowering shrubs that grow in shade placed artistically on customisable stands would not only add to the beauty of your home but would also bring in a freshness to your home surroundings.

In keeping with the flow of your house settings, you can choose a number of home decorative pieces as Mother’s Day presents. If feeling unsure of finding the right kind of decoratives, it is not a bad idea to keep your mother in the loop when shopping for her gift. She would be anyways pleased with your considerate approach towards finding her the perfect gift on Mother’s Day.

At the end of the day no matter what the gift, gesture or effort you put into your mother’s day this year, whether it be a handmade card or a pair of diamond earrings she is bound to shred some appreciation for the thought and time you’ve spent on her, afterall she did carry you for nine months so she’ll probably cut you some slack.

Amy Lawlor