The Other I

April 3, 2011

Mother’s Day and Mother Church

Filed under: Catholicism and other questions of religion,The English — theotheri @ 4:09 pm

Today is Mother’s day over here, which is how I discovered that Mother’s day is another one of the pagan celebrations – like Christmas and Easter and Halloween – that the Church took over from the peoples it converted and made its own.

The pagan celebrations  were originally a spring ritual and centered around not our individual mothers, but around Mother Nature.  According to the version adapted for Christianity, this is the day in mid-Lent to return to the Mother Church.  It’s a custom which has not altogether died out here in Britain, and people often still return to the church where their families originally worshipped.

As with Christmas and Easter, I find myself feeling that the original pagan celebrations are somehow closer to the Earth and life as I know it.

I’m not against Catholicism adopting the beliefs and rituals of other beliefs.  But I think it would a be a richer church if it acknowledged that these insights and celebrations did not originate with them.

No single religion, no single philosophy or teaching, has an exclusive a monopoly on celebrating our place in the universe.



  1. It is not unusual to shanghai holidays – not so hard to imagine cavemen noticing days becoming longer, even though they may have been tearing chunks of raw meat off slain animals
    with their bare hands. Mother’s Day is a little more sophisticated, though. In my (Lutheran) childhood it was obvious to me and my peer group that Christmas was invented by Martin Luther.
    If I were set to popularize any religion to a new group, I’d be careful to research their holidays first and make use of them. This might only take 2 or 3 generations.


    Comment by budavar — April 3, 2011 @ 4:52 pm | Reply

    • Ah, Christmas invented by Martin Luther! Of course. I thought it was invented by St. Nicholas.

      Seriously, I agree with your basic premise. If you want to get people to join your religion, adopt as much of what is already there as possible. I approve of the strategy wholeheartedly. I just sort of feel it’s a little deceitful to pretend one hasn’t done that. But then, maybe all of history works like that. I don’t even know who is originally responsible for my grandmother’s cheesecake that I’m still making.


      Comment by theotheri — April 3, 2011 @ 7:46 pm | Reply

  2. I think the history of your Mother’s Day better than ours in the U.S. Much more interesting.

    And I agree that it seems sneaky (unnecessarily so) to adopt-then-adapt a culture’s holidays to your own culture without citing them as your inspiration.


    Comment by Chris — April 6, 2011 @ 5:33 pm | Reply

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