Mother’s Day Gift Ideas- Books

The origins of Mother’s Day trace back to Ancient Greek celebrations of the mother goddess Cybele, the only known goddess from Phrygia, a region of Asia Minor from the 6th century BC. Worship of the goddess spread from the east to the ethnically Greek areas of Anatolia, then to the Aegean islands and mainland Greece. In Rome, she was called Magma Mater, the Great Mother. Her worship was met with some resistance at first since the rituals of her cult were often wild, with music, dancing, and wine. Associated with animals, Cybele was depicted with a lion or on a lion-drawn chariot. The arrival of Christianity led to a more sedate celebration of Mother’s Day which in fact started out as a celebration of Mother Church.

The campaign to make Mother’s Day an official holiday in the United States began in 1905 spearheaded by Anna Jarvis the year her mother passed away. The celebration of Mother’s Day began with a memorial she held in honor of her mother at St. Andrews Methodist Church in Grafton, WV, in 1908. Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation making the second Sunday in May the official celebration of Mother’s Day in the United States. In Greece, the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus Christ in the Temple, February 2, was traditionally celebrated in part as Mother’s Day, but in recent times, the second Sunday of May has been accepted as Mother’s Day there as well as in many countries around the world. Flowers are a classic gift, though they hardly last long enough to reflect the constancy of love for mom. Books are thoughtful way to share how much mom means to you. Here are some bookish gifts to share and make mom’s day extra special.

Charming photo books featuring the sights and history of Greece always make great gifts. The As the Seagull Flies series by author and photographer Penelope Matsouka is a wonderful series of aerial photo books from various places in Greece, including Mani, Paros, Naxos, Rhodes, and Lefkada. Published by Anavasi, the books are available in bilingual Greek and English editions. Anavasi also publishes maps and travel guides for those planning trips to Greece this year.

A History of Greece by Nicholas Doumanis is a fine single-volume edition. Beginning in the Bronze Age, this book tells the story of Greek-speaking people in the Eastern Mediterranean region from the earliest archeological traces. It also features maps and illustrations to highlight the remarkable history of Greece.

For moms who enjoy more literary diversions, there are several books in Greek now available online. The advent of various publishing platforms has now made it easy for book lovers to find books that in the past would have gone out of print. Moms with e-readers can upload all their favorites, from classics of ancient literature to romance novels. E-books are often relatively inexpensive when compared to hardcover books, but check with mom first, she may prefer “real” books to e-books. Some titles to enjoy, Tales from a Greek Island by Alexandros Papadiamantis, To Agriolouloudo (The Wildflower) by Pavlos Nirvanas, and Dio Nisia, Mia Agapi (Two Island, One Love) by Katerina Banou.


VENICE – The Greek Orthodox Community of Venice, the Hellenic Institute of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Studies, and the Metropolis of Italy, in collaboration and with the help of the Embassy of Greece in Rome, are organizing a concert with the performer Kleoniki Demiri on Sunday, June 16, 8 PM.

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