May 8, 2013 at 10:27 AM

Here’s to Moms

"Mother's Day is rooted in ancient festivals..."

By Lynn Cline

Gourmet Girl

Lynn Cline is a former food editor and the author of two books – Romantic Days and Nights in Santa Fe and Literary Pilgrims: The Santa Fe and Taos Writers' Colonies, 1915-1950. She also loves to cook, when not dining out.

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Can you guess which day of the year sees the highest sales in greeting cards and flowers? No, it's not Valentine's Day or Christmas. It's Mother's Day, which says a lot about how highly we regard moms in this country. Mother's Day is also the holiday when the most long-distance telephone calls are placed and the highest number of churchgoers attends services, after Christmas and Easter.

Mother's Day is rooted in ancient festivals, including the Greek celebration of Cybele, a Mother Earth goddess who traveled in a chariot pulled by lions and was greeted with wild music and free flowing wine everywhere she went. The Romans also revered Cybele, honoring her with an annual festival celebrated on the vernal equinox that included games, feasting and a masquerade.

But Mother's Day as we know it is a more recent invention that evolved primarily in America and spread to other countries, where it became linked to religious, historical or legendary events and was celebrated on entirely different days. In the Roman Catholic Church, for example, Mother's Day is strongly associated with the Virgin Mary, while in Bolivia the day commemorates the women who died in the Bolivian War of Independence in 1812.

Mother's Day is celebrated in many ways around the world, with cooking competitions and surprise parties in Indonesia and elegant lunches in upscale restaurants in Malta. In China, carnations and lilies—traditionally planted in ancient times by women when their children left home— are presented as gifts, while the Japanese give red carnations and roses.

In the U.S., Anna Jarvis launched the day in 1908 as a way to fulfill her mother's dream of creating a way to honor all mothers. To help promote it, she enlisted the help of Philadelphia department store magnate John Wanamaker and they were so successful that in 1914, Pres. William Taft made Mother's Day official.

Unfortunately by the time Jarvis died in 1948, she had come to regret Mother's Day, calling it a Hallmark holiday to indicate how commercialized it had become. She was right, based on the sales of greeting cards and flowers.

But Mother's Day doesn't have to be commercial. In fact, it's easy to thank your mom for all she does with handmade cards, breakfast in bed, homemade chocolates, wildflowers from the garden and a handcrafted gift —jewelry, paintings, a poem or even a live piano or guitar recital. Use your imagination, not Hallmark, to tell your mom how much you love her and how unique she is.

Here are a few ways to celebrate Mother's Day in Santa Fe this year.

Historic House Tour: Take your mom on a self-guided tour of four lovely properties around the Santa Fe Plaza, hosted by the Historic Santa Fe Foundation. The tour is offered in observance of Historic Preservation Month and the properties are on the Foundation Registry. Docents will be on hand at each stop on the tour. 1 to 4 p.m.
For more info, click here.

Mother's Day Brunch

Eldorado's Champagne Brunch: What better way to show your mom you love here than with the annual champagne brunch at Eldorado Hotel & Spa. The menu includes a chef's omelet station and carving station with caraway-crusted roast pork loin, slow-roasted prime rib along with blackened salmon, seafood selection, white chocolate cheesecake, Bailey's diva chocolate mousse and more. From 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Anasazi Brunch: The Anasazi Restaurant hosts a three-course brunch featuring signature tortilla soup, crab cake benedict, mango crème brulee and more. Guitarist Roberto Cappochi plays live music. 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Hank Williams Tribute Brunch: If your mom is a country music fan, take her to The Cowgirl for a Hank Williams Tribute Brunch, featuring songs written and covered by country music's first superstar, as played by Cathy Faber's Swingin' Country Band. Noon to 3 p.m.

Terra Mother's Day Brunch: Take Mom to a gourmet brunch at Terra at The Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe. The menu features fresh, seasonal ingredients and an elaborate dessert buffet with live action stations. Give your mom a gift of relaxation and rejuvenation at the resort's space, where she'll receive complimentary make-up retouche and a mimosa. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa's Mother's Day Brunch features an incredible buffet served in the historic Staab House mansion and prepared by chef Carmen Rodriguez, chosen as New Mexico's chef of the year. Dine on fresh pastries, eggs and waffles cooked to order, roast leg of lamb with mint and red onion mermelada, red chile molasses glazed ham and more. 9 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.

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