Is Mother’s Day and Father’s Day Pagan?
Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr
“Mother's Day dates back to ancient cultures in Greece and Rome. In both cultures, mother goddesses were worshipped during the springtime (Easter) with religious festivals. The ancient Greeks paid tribute to the powerful goddess Rhea, the wife of Cronus, known as the Mother of the Gods (Queen of Heaven). Similarly, evidence of a three-day Roman festival in Mid-March called Hilaria, to honor the Roman goddess Magna Mater, or Great Mother, dates back to 250 BCE. As Christianity spread throughout Europe, the celebration of the "Mother Church" replaced the pagan tradition of honoring mythological goddesses. The fourth Sunday in Lent, a 40-day fasting period before Easter, became known as Mothering Sunday. To show appreciation for their mothers, they often brought gifts or a "mothering cake" (Jeremiah 7:18) and over time, it began to coincide with the celebration of the Mother Church. Mother's Day always falls on the second Sunday of May, and like so many other holidays rooted in pagan sun-worship including Father's Day which always falls on the third Sunday of June, usually fall on the day named in honor of their god.” – www.nazarite.net
I am ALL for staying as far away from paganism as possible and I am totally against such Western Pagan days as Halloween, X-mas, Easter, Valentines day and the like, days that have CLEAR pagan roots and ties and entrapments; ritual objects such as trees and wreaths (phallic symbols), egg dyeing and hunts, trick or treating etc.; they are on the same days as on the pagan calendar and honor pagan deities. On these I have NO participation in and firmly oppose, but hopefully in a tactful way to those I love. But honestly, the above statement is admirable, but holds water like a wet cardboard box. Sure, the pagan Romanesque Christian church DID take pagan holidays and observances and sprinkled a little “Jesus” on them to make them okay, and most likely did so in regards to Mother and Father’s day. But when is it ever wrong to honor ones Mother or Father with a special day of company, companionship, with a special meal and gifts of gratitude and appreciation? We do not honor our parents as gods, or any of the gods mentioned above, obviously, but we do show our folks honor and love as the Torah commands, for they are examples of G-d to us, by their procreation and their love care and sustenance of us. If it were not for our parents or someone acting as our parent we would have little to no concept of G-d. I can totally understand and respect the fact that one may not want to honor their parents on those particular days, but especially if your parents are not Torah observant, and thus do not understand you abhorrence of the day, out of love and respect for them, at least give them a call and express to them your love and warm thoughts to them. If you choose to honor them by taking them out to eat or such on another day, even better, for they will not be suspecting it. It will be a special treat for them.
In separating ones self from paganism and being Torah observant, really think things through before zealously carrying out something that may be unnecessarily hurtful to others very important to us and thus, by our actions make the Torah of none effect. This is especially true if we are trying to win others over to the Torah way.