Has the year really passed so quickly? There are now only 336 days left until Christmas. The cynic in me is tempted to suggest that it will only be a couple of weeks before we start seeing the first Christmas displays in the shops. However, first we have Valentine’s Day (14th February). Then we have Mother’s Day (27th March) and Easter (17th April). Then there are all those summer holidays that people have been looking forward to, because modern people can’t function without their holidays. When I started work we used to get by on two weeks a year, and knew people who had been at work when there was no such thing as annual holiday. The whole country is getting soft. You can’t imagine the Spartans taking two weeks off in summer. Anyway, enough about the good old days. We probably won’t start Christmas until September.
American readers may have noticed that we have Mother’s Day on a different day. That’s because ours is linked to Mothering Sunday, which is a church festival and it takes its date from Easter, which is a notably moveable feast. Yours is linked to a woman called Anna Jarvis, who wanted to honour the memory of her mother.
I must apologise to Americans here, because I had always assumed that your Mother’s Day was just another commercial orgy driven by greetings card manufacturers. Seems I’m wrong – not only was it not started for that reason, but it inspired an English woman – Adelaide Smith – to reinvigorate the festival in the UK. She lived and worked in Nottingham and is buried nearby, but until today I knew nothing about her.
However, the greetings card manufacturers did take over, and Anna Jarvis actually tried to put a stop to Mother’s Day. To be fair to the card manufacturers, when she needed care at the end of her life, they paid for it, but it just goes to show how commercial interests take things over.
That’s probably a good place to stop. Otherwise I might get onto the subject of Father’s Day, a completely unnecessary blot on the calendar, and an idea, I suspect, that is supported behind the scenes by an international cartel of sock manufacturers.