Thoughts for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day can be traced back to the Ancient Greeks and Romans who held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele.

The ancient Greeks held an annual spring festival dedicated to honor the maternal goddesses Rhea. The wife of Cronus, Rhea was the mother of many deities of Greek mythology.

Ancient Romans also celebrated a spring festival, called Hilaria dedicated to the mother goddess Cybele. Ceremonies in honor of Cybele began some 250 years before Christ was born. The celebration was held on the Ides of March by making offerings in the temple of Cybele,  this festival lasted for about three days.

Mothering Sunday, from the UK is the most recent celebration, dating back to the 1600’s. This Christian festival was once a major tradition in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, it fell on the fourth Sunday in Lent, it was a time when people would return to their “mother church”. (Much like homecoming that is celebrated in churches today when people return to their home church for a special service and a meal afterwards).

Mothering Sunday eventually took a more secular route when children would present their mothers with gifts and flowers to show their appreciation. Mothering Sunday eventually faded out but regained new life when it merged into the American born Mother’s Day in the 30’s and 40’s. In World War II servicemen would purchase trinkets to send back home to their Mother’s or wives.

In 1872 Julia Ward Howe (writer of the Battle Hymn of the Republic) suggested in her “Mother’s Peace Day Proclamation” that Mother’s Peace Day be celebrated on the second Sunday in June. This was to be a day that Mother’s would stand united against war and be dedicated to peace.

Around the same time  Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia began holding meetings taught local women how to properly care for their children. These meetings became a unifying force in a region of the country still divided over the Civil War. In 1868 Jarvis organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” where mothers gathered with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation.

The efforts of Ann Reeves Jarvis’ daughter Anna Jarvis gave birth to the official Mother’s Day holiday in the 1900s. After her mother’s 1905 death, Anna Jarvis wanted to honor her mother’s good faith efforts as well as all good Mother’s sacrifices. She used financial backing from a Philadelphia store owner named John Wanamaker and proceeded to organize the first Mother’s Day celebration at a church in Grafton, West Virginia. Seeing the success of the first Mother’s Day celebration she set out on a long journey to make the celebration a National Holiday.

By 1912 many States and churches celebrated Mother’s Day. Jarvis finally succeeded in her quest when President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day  in 1914.

Anna Jarvis had envisioned Mother’s Day as a personal day for families where they could gather together and spend time making precious memories. It wasn’t long after Mother’s Day became a national holiday before florists, card companies and other merchants capitalized on its popularity. This infuriated Anna Jarvis, she spent all her personal assets fighting to have Mother’s Day removed as a National Holiday because it had turned into something entirely different from her vision. By the time of her death in 1948, Anna Jarvis was penniless and confined to a sanitarium.


From Goddesses to penniless, motherless widows, Mother’s day has seen great extremes. Mother’s have fought and struggled throughout the years to make this world a better place for their children to grow up in; they are ever persevering the face of adversity, sacrificing in times of want and above all loving in all circumstances.

Celebrate the Mother you love and those who have loved you this Mother’s Day.

Beautiful Mother's Day Box of Assorted Chocolates

Information for this article gathered from History.com and mothersdaycelebration.com and cocoamill.com

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Easter and Chocolate

 

As children we hardly ever questioned why the Easter Bunny came to visit us and further more why did he bring us chocolate bunnies to eat? Why do we color eggs? What are the meanings of these traditions? While they are fun and make great memories with your family the answers may (or may not) surprise you.

easter greetings

 

There are no stories in the bible that refer to this fluffy hare bringing us baskets filled with goodies, no passages that talk about children painting Easter eggs to be hidden by a large rabbit. So where do these practices come from and how do they end up on our Easter tables?

According to the University of Florida’s Center for Children’s Literature and Culture, the origin of the celebration — and the origin of the Easter Bunny — can be traced back to 13th-century, pre-Christian Germany, when people worshiped several gods and goddesses. The Teutonic deity Eostra was the goddess of spring and fertility, and feasts were held in her honor on the Vernal Equinox. Her symbol was the rabbit because of the animal’s high reproduction rate.

The first recorded mention of and Easter Bunny was in Georg Franck von Frankenau’s De ovis paschalibus (About Easter Eggs) in 1682 referring to an Alsace tradition of an Easter Hare bringing Easter Eggs.

The idea of an egg-laying bunny came to the U.S. in the 1700s. German immigrants in the Pennsylvania Dutch area told their children about the “Osterhase” (sometimes spelled “Oschter Haws]). “Hase” means “hare”, not rabbit, and in Northwest European folklore the “Easter Bunny” indeed is a hare, not a rabbit. According to the legend, only good children received gifts of colored eggs in the nests that they made in their caps and bonnets before Easter. In 1835, Jakob Grimm wrote of long-standing similar myths in Germany itself. Grimm suggested that these derived from legends of the reconstructed continental Germanic goddess *Ostara.

Easter is a religious holiday, but some of its customs, such as Easter eggs, are likely linked to pagan traditions. The egg, an ancient symbol of new life, has been associated with pagan festivals celebrating spring. From a Christian perspective, Easter eggs are said to represent Jesus’ emergence from the tomb and resurrection. Decorating eggs for Easter is a tradition that dates back to at least the 13th century, according to some sources. One explanation for this custom is that eggs were formerly a forbidden food during the Lenten season, so people would paint and decorate them to mark the end of the period of penance and fasting, then eat them on Easter as a celebration.

Easter is a time for renewal and rebirth. The trees are growing buds, flowers are splashing the landscape with vibrant colors and the whole world feels like it’s waking up. As we enter into our Easter traditions this year our knowledge of this subject  will reign supreme.

As the cold and grey winter days,

Give way to the bright and beautiful spring,

You know it’s time for you to hear

the Easter bells ring!

The birds are chirping, the bunnies are out

There are Easter eggs all around!

There is happiness in the air

And a warmth in your heart

To stay with you, all through the year!

-Unknown

This information was obtained from the History.com, discovery.com and other sources.

Sweets For Your Sweet

A brief history lesson before we delve into the sweet reason of Chocolate on Valentine’s day…

St. Valentine’s Day began as a liturgical celebration of one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus.  The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”
– Aristotle

Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.)

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
– Lao Tzu

Our infatuation with chocolate first began 2,000 years ago when it was discovered in Latin America. The Maya and Aztec elites infused cocoa beans with water to form frothy chocolate drinks – the first frappuccinos, if you will – for special occasions and as sacrifices to the gods. The Aztec ruler Montezuma believed that chocolate was an aphrodisiac and routinely drank it before entering his harem, thus increasing chocolate’s popularity and its association with love and romance. As it turns out, he was ahead of his time. Modern-day scientists have linked the chemical phenylethylamine in chocolate to feelings of excitement, attraction and even pleasure.

“Young love is a flame; very pretty, often very hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. The love of the older and disciplined heart is as coals, deep-burning, unquenchable.”
– Henry Ward Beecher

 Christopher Columbus saw how the Aztecs revered cocoa when he entered the picture in the sixteenth century and immediately took the luxury product back to Queen Isabella of Spain. Chocoholics sprouted up all over Europe, sharing the legend of their new obsession’s alleged mythical powers. At one point in time, chocolate was believed to be so potent that nuns were forbidden from eating it and French doctors used it to treat “broken hearts.”

“Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.
– Zora Neale Hurston”

So whatever your reason is for celebrating Valentine’s Day make sure that your heart is filled with love and your hands are filled with chocolate.

This information was collected from the History Channel and from other sources.

 

Summer Sweets: Salmon in White Chocolate Dill-Lemon Sauce

I was ready for a light summer meal after damaging storms blasted through the area causing wide-spread power outages.  Huge old trees that hold the history of our land have been uprooted and chaotically tossed about, personal property that has been meticulously cared for has been destroyed along with people’s hopes and dreams.  Most everyone was thrust into some sort of temporary frontier life.  While roughing it is fun; it looses it’s luster after about 48 hours leaving the harsh realization of just how dependant this society is on the luxuries of everyday life.  Several places are still waiting for power to be restored.  The power companies have been working for 8 days to clean up the mess and restore some sense of normalcy to our area.  In returning to a normal summer life I came across this light meal that taste like a summer evening in every bite.  I hope you enjoy it!

Salmon in White Chocolate Dill-Lemon Sauce:

You will need 2 large Salmon Steaks

1 oz of Cocoa Mill Solid White Chocolate

4 Tbsp of butter

1 Tbsp of flour

1/2 cup of fish or chicken stock

1/2 tsp of pepper

1/4 tsp of salt

1 1/2 tsp of dill

4 tsp of lemon juice

2 Tbsp of olive oil

2 Tbsp minced garlic

In a sauce pan melt 2 Tbsp of butter and the white chocolate over medium heat. After the butter and chocolate are melted add the flour and stir until the butter/chocolate  is absorbed.  Add half of the stock until the liquid begins to thicken, add remainder of the stock and stir until mixed throughly. Reduce to low heat add pepper, salt, lemon juice, and dill. Simmer stirring occasionally until fish is ready to serve.

In a skillet melt the remaining  butter and olive oil. Salt and pepper the salmon and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes per side, or until done. Remove fish from the skillet and add the garlic heat lightly for about 3 minutes until the garlic just starts to turn brown. Top the salmon with the garlic. At this point if you have any steamed vegetables throw them into the skillet with the heat off just to incorporate the garlic and butter taste into the vegetables.

Remove the sauce from the heat and drizzle over the salmon until lightly covered.

This dish is best served with steamed broccoli, asparagus, or green beans. I enjoyed a nice cucumber and tomatoes salad, just to have that full summer taste.

Enjoy summer with chocolate!