Today is Muttertag in Germany. This is not to be confused with the British Mothering Sunday, which falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Mothering Sunday most likely dates from the 16th century custom of visiting one’s mother church annually on Laetare Sunday which meant that mothers would be reunited with their children on this day.
German Mother’s day has a completely different origin. Back in the 1920s, Germany had the lowest birthrate in Europe, and politicians, churches and women’s groups were concerned with promoting the value of motherhood. In 1923 the Association of German Florists decided to introduce Muttertag – the Mother’s Day holiday celebrated in America and Norway.
The greatest champions of Muttertag were the Nazis, who declared it an official public holiday and awarded varying levels of the Mutterkreuz to women who had large numbers of children. To count the children also had to be genetically healthy, of Germanic blood, politically reliable and have no obvious vices. A minimum of four such Aryan children was required for a Mutterkreuz – and at least eight for a gold one.
Nowadays in Germany Muttertag is celebrated on the second Sunday of May – and has largely gone back to its origins – the tills of the German florists will be ringing with everyone’s pocket money this week!
Look what my lovely (non-Aryan, politically incorrect, vice-riddled) children have bought me!
Who wants a gold Mutterkreuz anyway?