A sunny morning has broken with the forewarning that northerly showery storms are on their way ... too true: from my sunny flat down in Eastbourne town, as I drive up the Downs, I can see the storm clouds building in what was a clear blue sky.
These are the Downs I go up every day to visit my mother ... and I’ll go back for a longer Mothering Day visit later on. I might have a chance to tell her about the flowering Magnolias, the early Cherries and the range of spring bulbs that are giving us a rainbow spectrum of colour.
Our Mothering Sunday is tied in to the Christian festival and falls on the 4th Sunday in Lent – rather than the Mother’s Day that occurs in May elsewhere in the world.
In the Roman religion the Hilaria festival was held in honour of the mother goddess Cybele and took place during mid-March. As the Roman Empire and Europe converted to Christianity around 2,000 years ago, this celebration became part of the liturgical calendar as Laetere Sunday – to honour the Virgin Mary and the “mother church”.
|Narcissus flower head|
It is thought that over time people “in service” were given a day off so that they could visit their families and return to their ‘mother church’. The children would pick wild flowers along the way to place them in the church or to give them to their mothers as gifts.
Today so much has changed – it is very unlikely that we would walk, would we recognise many of the wild flowers?, we would be had up if we picked them and it is less and less likely that we regularly attend church (here in the UK anyway) .... while for some the generosity of spirit for their mother is not forthcoming.
|Anemones - my mother's favourite|
flower - I managed to find some
deep blue ones
Enough of that – back to Hilaria – this sounds more fun ... festive spirits in celebration that the winter with its gloom has effectively gone and a time of abundance is ahead of us.
The Vernal Equinox occurs on Tuesday, 20th March when we will have a day and night of equal length ... and then next Saturday/Sunday in the UK we will put our clocks forward to attain the benefit of longer days – bliss! Darkness will occur about 7.30 pm next Sunday .. getting used to the darker mornings is a little off-putting ...
|Roasting in medieval times -|
from the illuminated manuscript
Tacuinum Sanitatis 14th C
So I, as Hilary, can celebrate the festival of Hilaria with my mother on this Mothering Sunday in the year two thousand and twelve ...
To all who are having wonderful family lunches with their mothers, daughters, grandmothers and to all those who are missing out on a family day together – bring care, thought and love into your homes and hearts.
A few facts that would interest my mother ... the Magnolia is an ancient genus – having evolved before the bees appeared - the flowers developed to encourage pollination by beetles. To avoid damage from these pollinating beetles, the carpels of Magnolia flowers are extremely tough.
Fossilised specimens of Magnolia have been found dating to 20 million years ago, and of plants identifiably belonging to the Magnoliaceae dating to 95 million years ago.
Incredible plants ... and amazing facts we learn about evolution and how each member of the world’s flora and fauna has adapted in some way ...
|Centre of a tulip showing multiple connate|
carpels surrounded by stamens
Happy Mothering Sunday – My Mama was awake, lucid and full of the joys of Spring on Thursday and Friday – remembering things that had been going on ... it’s always a delight to one and all – the staff love it, Janice, Andy and Susie (our visiting therapists) experienced it this week too ... it does warm the soul.
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