ABOUT MOTHER’S DAY
Mothers’s Day in the USA and many other countries (Australia, New Zealand, India) is observed on the second Sunday in May. It was established firstly as a secular holiday to celebrate and honour one’s own mother (it’s officially Mother’s Day, not Mothers’ Day) – but has evolved to include motherhood in general, and in some communities Christian ideas about Mary the Mother of God.
In some countries (eg Ireland, the UK, Nigeria) the 4th Sunday of Lent is observed – originally as Mothering Sunday but now more commonly as Mother’s Day. Originally Mothering Sunday was when people returned to their “mother church” for the Latare Sunday service, and while doing so met their mothers and other family member in an annual celebration. Over time, the “mother church” emphasis has fallen, and the day has come to resemble the USA’s Mother’s Day.
Similar celebrations are held on different days in other countries – some with a secular origin, and others from a religious basis.
These differences means that there is no clear-cut set of hymns for Mother’s Day, or what such hymns should be about – or even a common opinion about whether the secular festival should be marked in church services or religious education classes.
But there are a number of hymns which some people have regarded as suitable for Mother’s Day, and some of these are listed below. These fall into several categories:
- Hymns for or about mothers and their experiences
- Hymns in which people give thanks for their own mother and for mothering which they have received
- Hymns addressing God as Mother (an idea which may be controversial in some settings)
- Hymns about Mary, the mother of God (which may not be appropriate in some settings)
- Hymn that address Mary as mother of humankind in general, and of specific people
- Hymns written by famous mothers.
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Suggestions from all these categories are listed below. Review them carefully to make sure they suit your purpose, and will be acceptable in your church / school / etc.
SUGGESTED FREE-USE HYMNS
Battle Hymn of the Republic
(This is the best-known hymn written by Julia Ward Howe, who was one of the founders of the American Mother’s Day)
God We Praise You for the Women
Mother Dearest Mother Fairest
Mother Dear O Pray For Me
Motherhood Sublime Eternal
O My Father (verse 4)
On this Day O Beautiful Mother
‘Tis the Month of Our Mother
Holy Mary Mother Mild
Hail Queen of Heaven
Dear Guardian of Mary
For Catholics, the Marian anthem for the season may be suitable.
Some other hymn about Mary, may be appropriate, in some situations. Note: list includes free-use and some copyright hymns.
SUGGESTED HYMNS WHICH MAY STILL BE COPYRIGHT
A Mother Lined a Basket – Keithahn
As I Kneel Before You – Parkinson
Faith of our Mothers – Patten (public domain in the US but not necessarily elsewhere)
For all the Faithful Women – Steumpfle
For All the Saints – How and Vaughn Williams
Giving Thanks to Mothers (tune ODE TO JOY) – Kelly 2006
God of Eve and God of Mary – Kaan
God of the Women – Gillette
Grandmother God (Younger than a youth) – Wren
Honour Christian Mothers – unknown (but likely to be recently written – to the tune of Onward Christian Soldiers)
Mary Blessed Grieving Mother – Forster (for mothers facing difficulties)
Mothering God You Gave Me Birth – Janzen and Smith
Mothers of Faith – Gordon
O Blessed Day of Motherhood
O God Whose Steadfast Love – Haddix
Where Can I Turn for Peace – Thayne