Yes, it's the fourth Sunday in LENT which means that here in the UK we'll be celebrating Mothering Sunday by giving our mam's breakfast in bed, sending them cards/chocolates/flowers etc. All very nice but does it really take this one day in order for us to remind our mams just how much we love and appreciate them? Yes, it would seem so and don't all of those card manufacturers know it. I mean to say not content with us sending a card to our mothers, there are now a range of cards available for every other woman in our lives - Happy Mother's Day To My .... wife/aunty/grandmother/sister-in-law and so on. For goodness sake, a friend even received a card "Happy Mother's Day, with love from your dog". Not that I'm against the day itself, far from it, I'm just against the over commercialisation of a day that, after all, started out as a RELIGIOUS 'HOLIDAY'.
And talking of religious holidays/celebrations, March seems to be awash with them, with, not just one Saints Day, BUT two. Yes, DAVID, patron saint of Wales had his 'day' earlier in the month and now it's the turn of SAINT PATRICK of Ireland.
Born in either Scotland or Wales, Patrick was taken to Ireland as a slave only to escape six years later when, after much studying, he went on to become not only a Priest but a Bishop. Today St. Patrick's Day is celebrated not just in Ireland but in many other countries (England, Germany, America) which have large Irish communities. Special masses are said and there are many community based activities often involving parades, the wearing of the Irish emblem, the SHAMROCK , and the drinking of green beer (yes you read correctly, green beer) though these are generally only laid on for the tourists.
Not just a month for Christian celebrations though, today (read that as Sunday) also sees Sikh's the world over celebrate VAISAKHI which commemorates not only New Year but also 1699, the year Sikhism was 'born' as a collective faith. A celebration of many parades with much dancing and singing, many choose to be baptised into the faith on this day.
Then on the 21st many Pagans will celebrate the festival of Ostara (look familiar? Ostara/EASTER?) more commonly known as the SPRING EQUINOX which sees the renewed life of the Earth.
A solar festival (as is the Autumn Equinox), Ostara is celebrated when the length of day and night are equal with some Pagans choosing to carrying out symbolic rituals involving the courtship of the Spring Goddess and God though traditional pastimes such as the painting/rolling/hunting for eggs are also popular.
Which brings us to the 28th when there is yet another event in the Christian Calender. Part of 'Holy Week', PALM SUNDAY commemorates the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem.
With special services being held in churches, many will participate in processions involving the carrying of large palm branches though certainly in Anglican churches here in the UK it is much more common for the congregation to be given a small palm leaf cross.
And so we come to the end of what seems like an extremely exhausting month and the Jewish faith's FEAST OF PASSOVER which commemorates the liberation of the Children Of Israel who were led out of Egypt by Moses.
Celebrated since 1300 BC, Passover takes place over 7 to 8 days depending on where in the world you live. Preparations before hand involve the thorough cleaning of the house from top to bottom whilst the Passover Meal itself sees the food, all of which symbolises something, being eaten in a certain order.
Though, as many of you already know, I'm not overly religious I do find the beliefs of others fascinating. Thinking about it, it's amazing just how many different elements show up time and time again in these celebrations with food and drink playing a huge part in many of them. Call me naive but wouldn't it be nice if, instead of war, all our 'differences' could be sorted out over a cup of tea and slice of cake?