This post is not all about cookies. I know, it’s hard to believe. The thing is, even though I remember baking peanut butter bumble bee cookies for my mother and grandmothers, that tradition seems to be largely familial in origin. Historically, Mother’s Day is traditionally celebrated with cakes instead of cookies.

The Origin of Mother’s Day

In the United States, Mother’s Day was made an official holiday in 1914. It’s a floating holiday here in the States, always falling on the second Sunday of May. This tradition was adopted in many other countries in Europe including Germany, Greece, Latvia, Denmark and Finland. But the idea of Mother’s Day predates the official holiday by centuries.
The Greeks celebrated Rhea, the mother of the gods and the ancient Romans celebrated Cybele, the celebration of the goddess Cybele. Even today, Mother’s Day in different countries often matches up with more ancient versions of the celebration.

Food on Mother’s Day

No matter where Mother’s day is celebrated, there are several common themes. For that one day, children and fathers take over the jobs the mothers usually do, cooking meals and generally making mom’s life as easy as possible. These meals often have traditional elements.

Simnell Cake

Simnell Mothers Day Cake

Mothers Day Cake

This marzipan covered fruit cake is the traditional food gift in Britain from children to their mothers. It’s quite similar to the Christmas fruit cake. According to popular legend, Simon and his sister Nell wanted to make a cake for their mother. One wanted to bake it. The other wanted to broil it. They ended up doing both and bringing the cake to their mother.

 

French Bloom Cake

In France, Mother’s Day is not celebrated on the second Sunday of May, but instead is celebrated on the last Sunday of the month. A huge family dinner in honor of mother and a special cake decorated as a bouquet of flowers is traditional.

American Traditions

Making cookies is a lot easier than baking cakes. It may be for this reason that cookie baking and gifting is catching on in America, though it hasn’t quite overtaken breakfast in bed or the traditional dinner out. I still think that a plate of bumble bee peanut butter cookies from a 6-year-old is one of the best Mother’s Day gifts, but then again, I might be biased.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

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