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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day truly a gift from the gods


By Charles Memminger

Today is Mother's Day, a day of celebration that, despite popular belief, was not established by Hallmark Greeting Cards Co. and the National Flower-Grower's Association. It is true that most national days of recognition not connected to presidents or the Mayan corn planting and harvesting calendar were invented by Hallmark, but Mother's Day isn't one of them. And Mother's Day is not just "an American guilt trip," as some (disgruntled children) have dubbed it; it is truly an INTERNATIONAL guilt trip that has roots to the very gods themselves.

So, as you enjoy waiting hand and foot today on She Who Must Be Obeyed, here is the actual history of how we came to celebrate Mother's Day.

Mother's Day was established by Rhea, the Greek "mother of the gods" who felt that someone who gave birth to hundreds of Greek gods deserved at least one day to herself, dammit. And she deserved it because being a mother in those days was no easy trick. She was married to the destructive Kronos, God of the Ages, who, fearing a prophesy that his eventual son would overthrow him, devoured each of the children Rhea gave birth to. (That, incidentally, set back the establishment of Father's Day for millennia.) Rhea eventually secretly gave birth to Zeus, whom she hid in a cave; Rhea presented Kronos with a stone wrapped in a blanket, which he immediately consumed and described as "tasty."

Zeus grew up to become the great God of Sky, Thunder and Fathers With Eating Disorders. For Zeus, every day was Mother's Day since his mother had kept him from becoming an entr e for dear old Dad. In order to perpetuate Mother's Day, Zeus married Hera, a goddess whose job it was to nurture the world. She was so good at nurturing that it is said the Milky Way was formed from the milk spurting from her breasts. Where drops of her milk fell to earth, fields of lilies sprung forth, which was great for the lily industry, but not so great if the milk drops fell on Olympia during the games and suddenly, the runner leading the marathon the one you bet 1,000 drachmas on tripped over a suddenly emerging lily plant at the 25-mile marker.

While great at squirting milk through the cosmos, it turns out that Hera's mothering instincts weren't so good. When she found out Zeus had knocked up an Earth mortal, resulting in the birth of Hercules, Hera slipped two poisonous snakes into the little tyke's crib. The baby Hercules throttled the two snakes, the first of many creatures he'd kill in his lifetime, earning him the Lifetime Animosity Award from PETMC (People for the Ethical Treatment of Mythical Creatures).

The Greeks continued to celebrate Mother's Day, and soon it spread everywhere until it came to the notice of a greeting card company and non-lily flower producers, and became a zillion-drachma industry.

Happy Mother's Day!