Black Cats: Halloween, Legends and Superstitions

Witches’ Familiars and Other Longtime Superstitions about Black Cats

by Franny Syufy, Cats Expert

Black cats have played a major role for centuries in folklore, superstition, and mythology. Black cats in the middle ages were believed to be witches’ familiars, and some people even believed them to be witches incarnate. Many of these old superstitions about black cats exist to this day.
Explore the mythology and lore about black cats, witches, and other beliefs that carry on in the 21st century, especially around Halloween."A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere." - Groucho Marx

Black Cats and Luck

Depending on one’s area of the world (and the century one lived in), black cats portend either good or bad luck. Here are some examples, a couple of them quite involved, with some tongue-in-cheek asides.

  • In Asia and the U.K., a black cat is considered lucky.
  • In Yorkshire, England, it may be lucky to own a black cat, but it is unlucky have one cross your path.
  • To dream of a black cat is lucky.
  • On the other paw, seeing a black cat in your dream indicates that you are experiencing some fear in using your psychic abilities and believing in your intuition. I wonder who makes up these things?
  • A funeral procession meeting up with a black cat is believed to forecast the death of another family member.
  • In 16th century Italy, people believed that if someone was sick he would die if a black cat lay on his bed.
  • In North America, it’s considered bad luck if a black cat crosses your path and good luck if a white cat crosses your path. In the U.K., switch the colors, I guess unless you live in Yorkshire.
  • Finding a white hair on a black cat brings good luck. Don’t pluck it though, or your luck may turn bad.
  • A strange black cat on a porch brings prosperity to the owner. (Scottish Lore)
  • A black cat seen from behind portends a bad omen. (And a black cat seen from the front is a GOOD omen?)
  • Ahhh…an explanation here: If a black cat walks towards you, it brings good fortune, but if it walks away, it takes the good luck with it.
  • If a black cat crosses your path while you’re driving, turn your hat around backwards and mark an X on your windshield to prevent bad luck. Oh my, what if you aren’t wearing a hat? Or you’re not carrying a felt-tip pen or lipstick? Please, don’t try this one at home! (Or while you’re driving.)
black kitten with big green eyes

Legend has it that a kitten born in May will be bad. With a face like that? Surely not.

More Lore about Black Cats

  • Sixteenth-century Italians believed that if a black cat jumped on the bed of an ill person, the person would soon die.
  • In Colonial America, Scottish immigrants believed that a black cat entering a wake was bad luck, and could indicated the death of a family member.
  • The Norse goddess Freyja drove a chariot pulled by a pair of black cats. Some versions of the tale claim they became swift black horses, possessed by the Devil. After serving Freya for 7 years, the cats were rewarded by being turned into witches, disguised as black cats.
  • A Roman solder killed a black cat in Egypt, and was killed by an angry mob of locals.
  • Appalachian folklore said that if you had a stye on the eyelid, rubbing the tail of a black cat on it would make the stye go away.
  • If you find a single white hair on your otherwise-black cat, it’s a good omen. In England’s border countries and southern Scotland, a strange black cat on the front porch brings good fortune.
  • Fisherman’s wives kept black cats while their husbands went away to sea. They believed that the black cats would prevent a disaster at sea. These black cats were considered so valuable that they were often stolen.
  • Sailors, who allowed the cat on ship, believed if a cat was thrown overboard it was  guaranteed to raise a storm and bring bad luck of all sorts.
    Sailor with a ship’s cat aboard the cruiser Olympia, ca. 1898

    Sailor with a ship’s cat aboard the cruiser Olympia, ca. 1898/Source: Independence Seaport Museum.

  • In Ireland, having your moonlit path crossed by a black cat was thought to foretell death in an epidemic.
  • It is considered bad luck to pass a black cat after 9 pm
  • To reverse the bad luck curse of a black cat crossing your path, first walk in a circle, then go backward across the spot where it happened and count to 13.
  • In North America, it’s bad luck if a black cat crosses your path and good luck if a white cat crosses your path. In Britain and Ireland, it’s the opposite.
    If a black cat walks towards you, it brings good fortune, but if it walks away, it takes the good luck with it.
  • In 16th century Italy, people believed that if a black cat lay on the bed of a sick man, he would die. However, they also believed that a cat will not remain in the house where someone is about to die – if the family cat refused to stay indoors, this was a bad omen.

 

Black Cats as Witches’ Familiars

Salem the Cat from the ABC show "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch"

Salem Saberhagen – Talking black American Short Hair Breed cat (voice of Nick Bakay) that lived with Sabrina, a pretty blond teenage witch (Melissa Joan Hart) on the fantasy comedy SABRINA, THE TEENAGE WITCH/ABC/1996-2003.

  • It was largely in the Middle Ages that the black cat became affiliated with evil. Because cats are nocturnal and roam at night, they were believed to be supernatural servants of witches, or even witches themselves, according to Glenda Moore.
  • Folklore has it that if a witch becomes human, her black cat will no longer reside in her house.
  • Some believe that black cats are witches in disguise, or witches reborn.
  • Others believe black cats are witches familiars (beings that aid witches in performing their craft). Not all familiars were black cats though; some were cats of other colors, dogs, pigs, or other animals.
  • For several centuries “witches” were rounded up, tried, and killed by burning or other violent methods; often their familiars were killed along with them.

Cats and Witches

  • Traits associated with cats include cleverness, unpredictability, healing and witchcraft, since in ancient times it was believed that witches took the form of their cats at night.
  • It was largely in the Middle Ages that the black cat became affiliated with evil. Because cats are nocturnal and roam at night, they were believed to be supernatural servants of witches, or even witches themselves. Partly because of the cat’s sleek movements and eyes that ‘glow’ at night, they became the embodiment of darkness, mystery, and evil, possessing frightening powers. If a black cat walked into the room of an ill person, and the person later died, it was blamed on the cat’s supernatural powers. If a black cat crossed a person’s path without harming them, this indicated that the person was then protected by the devil. Often times, a cat would find shelter with older women who were living in solitude. The cat became a source of comfort and companionship, and the old woman would curse anyone who mistreated it. If one of these tormentors became ill, the witch and her familiar were blamed.
  • A kitten born in May will be a witches cat.
  • Some believe black cats are witches in disguise.
  • Others believe black cats are witches familiars (beings that aid witches in performing their craft).

 

The Color BlackBombay breed of cat

  1. Black is one of the three basic colors of cats which Franny Syufy would call “pure.” The other two are red and white. All other colors and color patterns of cats are a combination of any two or three of these basic colors.The differences are all a matter of genetics, a very complicated study of the genes which are carried down from cat-to-cat. Cats with a dominant black gene are often (but not always) pure black in appearance. A cat with two parents, both possessed of a dominant black gene, will almost always be pure black. However, if either of these cats has a recessive red gene, the child may also carry it, a fact which accounts for the fact that sometimes black cats appear “rusty” in the sun.
  2. While many recognized breeds have been around for years, or are the result of naturally occurring genetic mutations, the Bombay is a result of years of selective breeding in an effort to develop a black “Parlour Panther.” It is the only recognized cat breed whose only acceptable color is black.Although stunning as sleek, black show cats with mesmerizing copper eyes, the Bombay is easily adaptable as a pet who will play fetch, guard your house, or even venture out with you on a leash.
  3. In addition to the Bombay, listed above, The Cat Fanciers’ Association allows solid black as a color option in 21 other breeds. The color description is fairly standard for all those breeds: BLACK: dense coal black, sound from roots to tip of fur. Free from any tinge of rust on the tips. Nose leather: black. Paw pads: black or brown.

The exceptions are:

Oriental – EBONY: dense coal black. Free from any tinge of rust on tips or smoke undercoat. Nose leather: black. Paw pads: black or brown.
Sphynx – BLACK: black. One level tone from nose to tip of tail. Nose leather: black. Paw pads: black or brown.
Ragamuffin – Although black is not specifically mentioned, the standard allows for “any color, with or without white,” so technically speaking, an all-black Ragamuffin would be allowed under the breed standard.

 

Black Cats and Halloween 

Why are Black Cats Associated with Halloween?

by Catherine Beyer

 

The connection between black cats and Halloween is complicated and frequently unclear. There are many claims made about connections, but many of them lack historical backing.

Witch flying on a broomstick with black cat, pumpkin and raven

Witch flying on a broomstick with black cat, pumpkin and raven

Witch Familiar

During the European witch-craze, witches were widely believed to keep familiars, which were malevolent spirits or demons that disguised themselves in the shape of animals and often fed off the witch’s blood. Cats were certainly considered potential familiars. After all, everyone had them to help control vermin population. But there were plenty of other animal familiars as well, including dogs, ferrets, birds, spiders, goats, toads, and hares, all of which could easily be found in the vicinity of most suspected witches.

Nature of Cats

Cats do have some qualities that can make them creepy to suspicious people. They are relatively intelligent, but they are also not terribly social with humans, unlike dogs. They’re harder to train and more often live on their own. They are naturally nocturnal, and humans naturally view nighttime as a time of danger before the invention of electric light because humans have terrible night vision.

Papal Bull Against Cats

Two papal bulls are sometimes pointed to as evidence of official persecution of cats. The first is the Summis desiderantes affectibus decreed in 1484 by Innocent VIII. This is the document commonly used to mark the beginning of the European witch-craze. However, while the document accepts the reality of witchcraft and threatens lay people with excommunication if they do not cooperate with Inquisition investigations on the matter, it doesn’t mention cats.
The second document is another papal bull, Vox in Rama, theoretically released by Gregory IX around 1232. The problem with this document is there’s doubt as to whether it actually existed. The first reference to it is relatively modern, a good 500 years after the reign of Gregory IX.

The Color Black

In Christian cultures, white is generally a symbol of goodness and purity, and black is a symbol of danger, corruption and evil. Any sort of black animal therefore could be more suspect than animals of other colors.

 

Natural Superstitions about Black Cats

Many urban legends state that Europeans have a long history of folklore vilifying black cats. In fact, there’s a wide variety of folklore about black cats, of which some are positive and some are negative.

Cat Worship in Egypt

The Egyptian Goddess Sekhmet

Egyptian goddess Sekhmet

It’s certainly true that cats were held in extremely high esteem in Egypt . However, there is absolutely no reason to think that things that happened thousands of miles away would color beliefs in northern Europe hundreds or thousands of years later. Some claim that the Church vilified cats to counteract their divine status in Egypt, but there’s no evidence of this, and it really reaches beyond common sense.
This belief presumes that large numbers of people in Europe had every aspect of their lives ruled by the Church, which is simply not true. There were all sorts of folklore that was not only separate from Christianity, but even ran counter to it.

Modern Tradition

Regardless of how black cats became associated with Halloween, the mere fact that it has become associated with Halloween is a reason for it to remain so. Seeing black cat decorations at Halloween reinforces the connection between black cats and Halloween.
As a comparison, consider the green-skinned witch often used in Halloween decorations. The first known depiction of a green-skinned witch was in The Wizard of Oz, a source that has absolutely nothing to do with Halloween. But, for whatever reason, we started making witches green in Halloween ornaments, and now it’s an accepted part of Halloween.

 

Cat Magic, Legends and Folklore

by Patti Wigington

 

Ever have the privilege of living with a cat? If you have, you know that they have a certain degree of unique magical energy. It’s not just our modern domesticated felines, though – people have seen cats as magical creatures for a long time. Let’s look at some of the magic, legends and folklore associated with cats throughout the ages.

Touch Not the Cat

In many societies and cultures, it was believed that a sure-fire way to bring misfortune into your life was to deliberately harm a cat. An old sailors’ tale cautions against throwing the ship’s cat overboard – the superstition said that this would practically guarantee stormy seas, rough wind, and possibly even a sinking, or at the very least, drownings. Of course, keeping cats on board had a practical purpose, as well – it kept the rat population down to a manageable level.

In some mountain communities, it is believed that if a farmer killed a cat, his cattle or livestock would sicken and die. In other areas, there’s a legend that cat-killing will bring about weak or dying crops.

The Egyptian goddess Bastet

The Egyptian goddess Bastet

In ancient Egypt, cats were regarded as sacred because of their association with the goddesses Bast and Sekhmet. To kill a cat was grounds for harsh punishment, according to the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus, who wrote, “Whoever kills a cat in Egypt is condemned to death, whether he committed this crime deliberately or not. The people gather and kill him.”

In both France and Wales, there’s a legend that if a girl steps on a cat’s tail, she’ll be unlucky in love. If she’s engaged, it will get called off, and if she’s seeking a husband, she won’t find him for at least a year following her cat-tail-stepping transgression.

Lucky Cats

In Japan, the maneki-neko is a cat figurine who brings good luck into your home. Typically made of ceramic, the maneki-neko is also called the Beckoning Cat or Happy Cat. His upraised paw is a sign of welcome. It is believed that the raised paw draws money and fortune to your home, and the paw held next to the body helps keep it there. Maneki-neko is often found in feng shui.

Maneki-neko, the Lucky Cat

Maneki-neko, the “beckoning cat,” is a Japanese figure who brings good luck to its owner

England’s King Charles once had a cat that he loved very much. According to legend, he assigned keepers to maintain the cat’s safety and comfort around the clock. However, once the cat fell ill and died, Charles’ luck ran out, and he was either arrested or died himself the day after his cat passed away, depending upon which version of the story you hear.

In Renaissance-era Great Britain, there was a custom that if you were a guest in a home, you should kiss the family cat upon your arrival to ensure a harmonious visit. Of course, if you’ve had a cat you know that a guest who fails to make nice with your feline could end up having a miserable stay.

There’s a story in rural parts of Italy that if a cat sneezes, everyone who hears it will be blessed with good fortune.

Cats and Metaphysics

Cats are believed to be able to predict the weather – if a cat spends the entire day looking out a window, it could mean rain is on the way.

In Colonial America, if your cat spent the day with her back to the fire, then it indicated a cold snap was coming in.

Sailors often used the behavior of ships’ cats to foretell weather events – sneezes meant a rain or a thunderstorm was imminent, and a cat who groomed its fur against the grain was predicting hail or snow and if it was frisky, the wind would soon blow.

Some people believe that cats can predict death. In Ireland, there’s a tale that a black cat crossing your path in the moonlight meant you’d fall victim to an epidemic or plague. Parts of Eastern Europe tell a folktale of a cat yowling in the night to warn of coming doom.

In many Neopagan traditions, practitioners report that cats frequently pass through magically designated areas, such as circles which have been cast, and seem to make themselves contentedly at home within the space. In fact, they often seem curious about magical activities, and cats will often lay themselves down in the middle of an altar or workspace, sometimes even falling asleep on top of a Book of Shadows.

Early Americans believed if a cat washes her face in front of several people, the first person she looks at will be the first to get married.

A strange black cat on your porch brings prosperity. – Scottish superstition

Leo sitting in the sun

Photo by A. Jones

 

 

After dark all cats are leopards. — Zuni proverb

 

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National Watermelon Day – Aug. 3, 2018

NATIONAL WATERMELON DAY

Watermelon is the perfect fruit to enjoy on August 3rd.  It is also National Watermelon Day. Enjoyed by many, it is a favorite at summertime events such as picnics and fairs.  Watermelon is 92% water, which is why it is so refreshing.

Celebrate National Watermelon Day on Aug. 3.

To celebrate National Watermelon Day, check out the recipes at BH&G.com.

Watermelon is a vine-like flowering plant originally from southern Africa. Its fruit, which is also called watermelon, is a special kind referred to by botanists as a pepo, a berry which has a thick rind (exocarp) and fleshy center (mesocarp and endocarp). Pepos are derived from an inferior ovary and are characteristic of the Cucurbitaceae. The watermelon fruit, loosely considered a type of melon – although not in the genus Cucumis – has a smooth exterior rind (usually green with dark green stripes or yellow spots) and a juicy, sweet interior flesh (usually deep red to pink, but sometimes orange, yellow, or white).

The fruit was likely first cultivated for its ability to hold plentiful water in a desert landscape, especially since the wild melon was bitter or tasteless.  Seeds and art found in tombs of Pharaohs are substantial evidence of the watermelon’s value. Cultivation and breeding brought out the better qualities of sweet and tender fruit we enjoy today.

Watermelons can grow enormous, and you will find competitions across the country which award prizes each year for the largest one.  The Guinness Book of World Records states that the heaviest watermelon weighed 262 pounds. To learn more refreshing watermelon facts, check out www.watermelon.org.

HOW TO OBSERVE

Enjoy a slice of Watermelon today and celebrate with the rest of the country! Post on social media using #NationalWatermelonDay.

Better Homes and Gardens™  has a variety of watermelon recipes.

Celebrate National Watermelon Day -Aug.3

This non-official American holiday’s beginnings are unknown however some believe it was created by watermelon farms while others suspect it was a creation of the National Watermelons Board.

According to Holidays Calendar, “Biologists and botanists believe that the modern watermelon can be traced all the way back to a vine like plant that grew wild in southern Africa. It has been cultivated by indigenous people since at least the second Millennium BC. From that auspicious beginning, the modern watermelon then spread all the way through Asia over the next thousand years, and eventually made its way into southern Europe by the tenth century. It was then introduced to the New World via European settlers and African slaves by the sixteenth century. By the seventeenth century, it was a commonly grown staple throughout much of the southern United States.

Today, watermelons are grown in almost every state in the U.S. In fact, there are only about 6 states where watermelons aren’t grown commercially. The states which produce the most watermelons are California, Arizona, Georgia, Texas and Florida.”

 

Watermelon Facts:

  • Watermelons are mostly water. About 91% of the watermelon by volume is made up of water.
  • The seeds and rind of the watermelon are edible.
  • Watermelon is both a fruit and a vegetable.
  • Seedless watermelons are NOT genetically engineered. They are a result of hybridization.
  • Oklahoma’s official State vegetable since 2007.
  • Watermelon has more lycopene than raw tomatoes.

Paul Bunyan Day – June 28

Paul Bunyan Day is a giant  of a day. Paul Bunyan was a gigantic lumberjack of American Folklore. According to folklore, Paul Bunyan and his blue ox “Babe” lived and travelled around country. He is best known for his logging feats.

Paul Bunyan and Babe

Visit the Paul Bunyan Trail in Minnesota.

The Origin of Paul Bunyan Day:

French Canadians were believed to have originated Paul Bunyan during the Papineau rebellion of 1837.  While he may have been created in Canada, Paul Bunyan quickly became a huge American legend. Many of the tales of Paul Bunyan originated in lumberjack industry and logging communities. Like all good folklore, it was passed from generation to generation by word of mouth. Over campfires, his legend grew, and tales were created. Written tales emerged in the early 1900’s.

Some historians believe Paul Bunyan was based on a real person — a French-Canadian logger named Fabian “Joe” Fournier. Fournier, born in Quebec around 1845, moved to Michigan after the Civil War to take advantage of the high-paying logging industry.

 

Paul Bunyan is “credited” with many deeds. Among his more legendary feats:

  • He created logging in the U.S.
  • He scooped out the great lakes to water Babe, his ox.
  • He cleared the entire states of North and South Dakota for farming.
  • He trained ants to do logging work. They were, of course, Carpenter Ants.
  • Babe’s large footprints created Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes.

 

Check out this Walt Disney version of the folklore legend:

According to the website Brownielocks and The 3 Bears, the actual date of Paul Bunyan Day is on February 12.
Why? It is believed by the people of Bangor, Maine that Paul Bunyan was born there on Feb. 12, 1834.

According to the site “Another version is that because “Bunyan” sounds like the French-Canadian slang word “Bonyenne” which translated into English means “Good Grief!” This exclamation would often be said if you heard something extraordinary. And, it is rumored that way back during the Papineau Rebellion of 1837 the French Canadians created Paul Bunyan (pronounced the same way as bonyenne) tales as a way to keep their spirits up and be entertained as they fought against the British colonial government. As you know, stories get spread between people, but in doing so, they don’t get retold accurately. So, as time went on, stories got more exaggerated to keep the entertainment up; or, as a way to compete amongst each other for who could be the most creative in telling a Paul Bunyan tale.

When did they get written down? The first known publications of Paul Bunyan tales were in 1910 by James MacGillivray. Years later, a man by the name of W.B. Laughhead, published these lumberjack tales in 1916 for promotional logging reasons and they grew in popularity far beyond just the lumbering trade.

Michigan claims Paul Bunyan began there because they (1) Have the first known publications about Paul Bunyan by James MacGillivray; and (2) because they are the first to actually have a Paul Bunyan observance activity in honor of him. The first known celebrations of Paul Bunyan Day date back to 1938, with the first Paul Bunyan Dance at the Saline Valley Farms, with a small group of foresters. As the popularity grew, the dance changed from square dance to waltzes, jitterbugs and so on. Although most of these dances were held in February, on November 20, 1943 at the University of Michigan they held a formal dance in the Michigan Union Ballroom, with a cider bar (no alcohol!). But, they also had a sawing contest with male and female partners as well. This event was very popular and attracted up to 100 couples. The winner received a grand prize of two U.S. War Bonds! Other Paul Bunyan dances featured square dancing and jug bands. The dances died off for a while. But, have been revised by the School of Natural Resources, University of Michigan off and on.”

 

To take a trivia quiz on Paul Bunyan, visit Brownie Locks.com.

 

The Story Behind Mother’s Day

by Brian Handwerk
for National Geographic

Anna Jarvis

Anna Jarvis  (Photograph by Bettmann, Corbis)

As Mother’s Day turns 100 this year, it’s known mostly as a time for brunches, gifts, cards, and general outpourings of love and appreciation.

But the holiday has more somber roots: It was founded for mourning women to remember fallen soldiers and work for peace. And when the holiday went commercial, its greatest champion, Anna Jarvis, gave everything to fight it, dying penniless and broken in a sanitarium.

It all started in the 1850s, when West Virginia women’s organizer Ann Reeves Jarvis—Anna’s mother—held Mother’s Day work clubs to improve sanitary conditions and try to lower infant mortality by fighting disease and curbing milk contamination, according to historian Katharine Antolini of West Virginia Wesleyan College. The groups also tended wounded soldiers from both sides during the U.S. Civil War from 1861 to 1865.

In the postwar years Jarvis and other women organized Mother’s Friendship Day picnics and other events as pacifist strategies to unite former foes. Julia Ward Howe, for one—best known as the composer of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”—issued a widely read “Mother’s Day Proclamation” in 1870, calling for women to take an active political role in promoting peace.

Around the same time, Jarvis had initiated a Mother’s Friendship Day for Union and Confederate loyalists across her state. But it was her daughter Anna who was most responsible for what we call Mother’s Day—and who would spend most of her later life fighting what it had become.

“Mother’s Day,” Not “Mothers’ Day”

Anna Jarvis never had children of her own, but the 1905 death of her own mother inspired her to organize the first Mother’s Day observances in 1908.

On May 10 of that year, families gathered at events in Jarvis’s hometown of Grafton, West Virginia—at a church now renamed the International Mother’s Day Shrine—as well as in Philadelphia, where Jarvis lived at the time, and in several other cities.

Largely through Jarvis’s efforts, Mother’s Day came to be observed in a growing number of cities and states until U.S. President Woodrow Wilson officially set aside the second Sunday in May in 1914 for the holiday.

“For Jarvis it was a day where you’d go home to spend time with your mother and thank her for all that she did,” West Virginia Wesleyan’s Antolini, who wrote “Memorializing Motherhood: Anna Jarvis and the Defense of Her Mother’s Day” as her Ph.D. dissertation, said in a previous interview.

“It wasn’t to celebrate all mothers. It was to celebrate the best mother you’ve ever known—your mother—as a son or a daughter.” That’s why Jarvis stressed the singular “Mother’s Day,” rather than the plural “Mothers’ Day,” Antolini explained.

But Jarvis’s success soon turned to failure, at least in her own eyes.

Storming Mother’s Day

Anna Jarvis’s idea of an intimate Mother’s Day quickly became a commercial gold mine centering on the buying and giving of flowers, candies, and greeting cards—a development that deeply disturbed Jarvis. She set about dedicating herself and her sizable inheritance to returning Mother’s Day to its reverent roots.

Jarvis incorporated herself as the Mother’s Day International Association and tried to retain some control of the holiday. She organized boycotts, threatened lawsuits, and even attacked First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt for using Mother’s Day to raise funds for charities.

“In 1923 she crashed a convention of confectioners in Philadelphia,” Antolini said.

A similar protest followed two years later. “The American War Mothers, which still exists, used Mother’s Day for fund-raising and sold carnations every year,” Antolini said. “Anna resented that, so she crashed their 1925 convention in Philadelphia and was actually arrested for disturbing the peace.”

Jarvis’s fervent attempts to reform Mother’s Day continued until at least the early 1940s. In 1948 she died at 84 in Philadelphia’s Marshall Square Sanitarium.

“This woman, who died penniless in a sanitarium in a state of dementia, was a woman who could have profited from Mother’s Day if she wanted to,” Antolini said.

“But she railed against those who did, and it cost her everything, financially and physically.”

Mother’s Day Gifts Today: Brunch, Bouquets, Bling

Today, of course, Mother’s Day continues to roll on as an engine of consumerism.

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend an average of $162.94 on mom this year, down from a survey high of $168.94 last year. Total spending is expected to reach $19.9 billion. The U.S. National Restaurant Association reports that Mother’s Day is the year’s most popular holiday for dining out.

As for Mother’s Day being a hallmark holiday, there’s no denying it, strictly speaking.

Hallmark Cards itself, which sold its first Mother’s Day cards in the early 1920s, reports that Mother’s Day is the number three holiday for card exchange in the United States, behind Christmas and Valentine’s Day—another apparent affront to the memory of the mother of Mother’s Day.

About 133 million Mother’s Day cards are exchanged annually, according to Hallmark. After Christmas, it’s the second most popular holiday for giving gifts.

Mother’s Day Gone Global

The holiday Anna Jarvis launched has spread around much of the world, though it’s celebrated with varying enthusiasm, in various ways, and on various days—though more often than not on the second Sunday in May.

In much of the Arab world, Mother’s Day is on March 21, which happens to loosely coincide with the start of spring. In Panama the day is celebrated on December 8, when the Catholic Church honors perhaps the most famous of mothers, the Virgin Mary. In Thailand mothers are honored on August 12, the birthday of Queen Sirikit, who has reigned since 1956 and is considered by many to be a mother to all Thais.

Britain’s centuries-old Mothering Sunday, the fourth Sunday of the Christian period of Lent, began as a spring Sunday designated for people to visit their area’s main cathedral, or mother church, rather than their local parish.

Mothering Sunday church travel led to family reunions, which in turn led to Britain’s version of Mother’s Day.

 

 

National Shrimp Day – May 9th

Here are today’s five food finds about Shrimp: The pistol shrimp can deliver an explosive attack hotter than the surface of the sun and loud enough to rupture a human ear drum. Every shrimp is actually born male, and some develop into females. Some shrimp are actually capable of glowing in the dark. Shrimp can […]

via May 9th is National Shrimp Day !🍤🍤 — Foodimentary – National Food Holidays

Happy St. Valentine’s Day!

Hearts, flowers and chocolates are all part of the holiday we celebrate as Valentine’s Day.  Find out more about the Legend of St. Valentine and the origins of the Day of Love by clicking here: History.com

 

Here’s 10 Trivia questions (answers given below) about Valentine’s Day: 

 

  1. Who is the winged child shooting the lovers arrow?
  2. Is Valentines Day the #1 card giving holiday?
  3. What does the word ‘valentine” stand for in Latin?
  4. On Valentines Day 1876 who received a patent for what important invention?
  5. What percent of women send roses to themselves on Valentines Day?
  6. Who will receive the most Valentines cards this year:  Mom, wife, girlfriend, or neither?
  7. In Old Ireland a heart was carved into what as a Valentines gift?
  8. The Farmers Almanac says “If a woman sees a robin on Valentines Day she will marry a ..???”
  9. Which state produces the majority of America’s roses?
  10. Name the actress who was nominated for an astounding SIX Academy Awards and was born on Valentines Day?

 

 

 

Trivia Answers: 

  1. Cupid
  2. No, Christmas is.
  3. Valor
  4. Alexander Graham Bell for the telephone
  5. 15%
  6. Neither.  Teachers get the most!
  7. A wooden spoon.
  8. Sailor
  9. California
  10. Thelma Ritter was born Feb. 14, 1902.  She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for All About Eve (1950), The Mating Season (1951), With a Song in my Heart (1952), Pickup on South Street (1953), Pillow Talk (1959), and Birdman of Alcatraz (1962).  She never won! 

 

 

Besides Frederick Douglas, Carl Bernstein and Jimmy Hoffa,  click HERE for a list of other famous people born on February 14th.

 

Did you know?

The heart shape wasn’t always a romantic symbol. 

Gil Elvgren Vintage Pin up - Happy Valentine's Day

Artist Gil Elvgren‘s pinup girl wishes you a happy holiday!

Prior to the 14th century, the shape we call a heart symbolized the anatomical heart, widely believed to be humans’ center of memory, according to Time. It wasn’t until Italian and French artists began championing the idea of romantic love that the St. Valentine heart became synonymous with love.

“Wearing your heart on your sleeve” is more than just a phrase.

In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names to see who their Valentine would be. They would wear the name pinned to their sleeve for one week so that everyone would know their supposed true feelings.

 

Find out more trivia about Valentine’s Day from Woman’s Day.com