If love is universal, a mother's love is on another level. And, although, for now, Mother's Day has no established universal date, in all corners of the Earth we celebrate that there is only one mother (although in some lucky families, they even have two). We do not hesitate to award ours the title of the best mother in the world, or what other families call the best mother in history.
Speaking of history, we go back to the origins of this festival celebrated on the ides of March throughout Asia Minor, as its roots are known to lie in the Greco-Roman Hilarias (the merrymakers). Ancient Greece already honoured the Great Mother of the Gods, Rhea, who, according to mythology, was the mother of Zeus, Poseidon and Hades. The Romans also joined in the festivities and made offerings to Cybele for three days at the temple of the Magna Mater on Palatine Hill. Later, Catholics adopted this celebration to honour the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, and today, according to the saints' calendar, 8 December is the feast of the Immaculate Conception. In England, around the 17th century, Mother's Sundays were celebrated in which children would go to mass and return home with gifts for their mothers. The modern and more widespread version of the Mother's Day holiday was cultivated in 1870 by Julia Ward Howe, an American poet, pacifist and women's suffrage activist. Years later, Anna Jarvis, in commemoration of her mother's death, made it an official celebration in the United States in 1914.
We, at Malas Compañías (Bad Companies), like the corners that are somewhat difficult to find, and we are lucky enough to travel through projects and stories from all over the world, stories that we then pass on to you, stories in which, of course, there are mothers, mothers from all over the world. Through our books we want to take you from African to Scandinavian lands to get to know festivities in which we humans have in common that we set aside a special time to enjoy celebrating the figure of the mother; no matter where, no matter how, no matter when. And although we are very clear that in Spain this date is the first Sunday in May and this year it falls on the 3rd (remember, for your mother!), this has only been the case since 1965, as it was previously celebrated on the 8th of December. And just as May is the month of flowers, we could say that it is also the month of mothers since the vast majority of the countries of the world celebrate this great day during this month, but not in all of them! Let's start the journey...
The first of the year to celebrate Mother's Day are the Norwegians, for whom Morsdag takes place on the second Sunday in February. Also, during the winter season, it is celebrated in Western Sahara, where, thanks to the National Union of Saharawi Women, every year on 18 February they celebrate no less than the National Saharawi Mother's Day, which coincides with the anniversary of the 1976 Moroccan air raids that killed the children of the Saharawi people.
From winter we move on to spring, with its flowers that smell more like May, for it is precisely the spring equinox that Mother’s Day is celebrated in several Arab countries. This year, on 21 March, the Syrian State Post Company issued a commemorative stamp for this special day, paying tribute to the mothers of martyrs, as the image on the stamp is the mother of six brothers who were martyred in the war.
Most countries indeed celebrate this day on the second Sunday of May, although others have a specific day number. And through the Serie Negra (Black series) of Libros de las Malas Compañías (Bad Companies Books) we think of the black mothers of the Colombians of Chocó and the blacks of Mexico who have their day on 10 May, and those of Paraguay on the 15th. In the Republic of Mozambique, as in most countries, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May, and so do the albino people. In Senegal, the last Sunday in May is the well-known Fête des mères, and it is in Lower Casamance that the Talibé children and the women who sew the cloth stories with us in Kolda live. They also share this date as official, unless it coincides with the day of Pentecost, in the South of Cameroon, where the Baka Pygmies live.
It is clear that, in every corner of the world, there is a special day to pay tribute and show gratitude to that beloved one we call mum. But it turns out that it's not just human mothers all over the world who give love, but also mouse mothers. And here is the proof...
"From the kitchen came a delicious aroma of freshly baked sponge cake. Then she heard her mother's voice saying to her, "Are you home yet?
-Are you home already, my king?
-But how? -asked the little mouse. Am I a king too?
-Of course you are! -You are the king of this house!
And she gave him a big hug...
That afternoon, with great majesty, the little mouse sat on his mother's lap, eating sponge cake and reading scary stories in a cat book".
This fragment is from de El ratón que quería un palacio (The mouse who longed for palace), written by Charo Pita and illustrated by Miguel Ángel Díez. It is a tale that offers two gifts: the wise teaching that to be a king, you don't need a palace and.... the recipe for Mama Mouse's sponge cake!
Mother's Day is just around the corner, and being Sunday and spending it at home is, without a doubt, a fantastic day to "get down to work" and make a delicious sponge cake. And, if you need a special recipe, we invite you to try the recipe for the delicious mummy mousse sponge cake that you can find in our book.
A mother's love has no understanding of days, historical periods, religions, tribes, countries... Not even of animal species. So, wonderful hedgehog, dragon, rabbit, mouse and also human mothers from any corner of the world, from Libros de las Malas Compañías we wish you a happy day... with love and a sponge cake!
Victoria Pellegero Terán