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Mother's Day

Marzo 2009
Quasi tutti i paesi festeggiano la Festa della Mamma la seconda domenica di maggio, ma gli inglesi, si sa, amano distinguersi. In ossequio a un’antica tradizione, Mother’s Day cade quest’anno il 22 marzo.

di John Rigg

File audio:

Anna Jarvis
Anna Jarvis

Speaker: Rachel Roberts (Standard British accent)

This year Mother’s Day will be on Sunday, March 22nd, when millions of children will give their mothers flowers and greeting cards. Wait a minute, did we say March 22nd? This is only true in Britain: at least 70 countries will celebrate Mother’s Day on May 10th this year.


Why do the British always have to be different? Well, this time they have a genuine reason because their tradition goes back at least 400 years. The celebration was originally called “Mothering Sunday” and it fell on the fourth Sunday of Lent. It was a day when everyone returned to their home or “mother” church, which they decorated with jewels and flowers. It was also called Refreshment Sunday, as families enjoyed a special meal together in the middle of Lent, a period of fasting.


Mothering Sunday was the only day off in the year (apart from Christmas) for children, many of whom worked as apprentices and domestic servants. As they walked home along country roads, they picked wild flowers to give to
their mothers.


Mothering Sunday almost died out in Britain in the 20th century, but the arrival of American troops during World War II revived the tradition. These soldiers lived with English families during the war, and thanked their hostesses for looking after them just as they did on Mother’s Day at home.
The US version has different origins: Sunday school teacher Anna Jarvis organised the first official US Mother’s Day celebration in Grafton, West Virginia on May 10th, 1908. Her campaign resulted in a national celebration when President Woodrow Wilson designated the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

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greeting cards - biglietti d’auguri.

goes back - risale a.     

Lent - Quaresima.

fasting - digiuno.

day off - giorno libero.

wild flowers - fiori selvatici.-

hostesses - ospiti.

Sunday school teacher - insegnante di catechismo.