So, just how do you celebrate Mother’s Day Italian style? Well, no where in the world, perhaps, are mothers as much celebrated as in Italy. In fact, Mother’s Day almost seems made for the Italian mamma!
Many Italian’s nearly idolize their mother, and she’s never far from their lips. From the simple phrase Mamma Mia (Oh my goodness) to songs that honor and revere her, like the song titled Mamma, which pictures this quite well.
You can listen to it, below. But you might want to read our partial translation of the song as you do!
1st verse: Mamma, I am so happy. Because I’m coming back to you. Mamma, I am so happy. Why should we live apart? Mamma, just for you my song flies. Mamma, you’ll be with me, and never alone again. Oh how I love you. These words my heart whispers to you, perhaps are no longer used…
Chorus: But Mamma, my most beautiful song is you. You are my life. And for the rest of my life, I’ll never leave you again!
Written by Cesare Andrea Bixio and Bixio Cherubini, this song also contains other verses, along the same line. And leaves no doubt that Italians love their mamma!
So if you’d like to show your undying love and affection for your mother, why not celebrate Mother’s Day Italian-style?
A typical Italian Mother’s Day starts with a special breakfast.
Since Sunday is typically a day off, they may take Mamma out for a cappuccino and pastry. Or serve her breakfast in bed.
Usually only school children give cards, often with a homemade gift.
Cards wish mushy messages like: Best Wishes to You, the Most Beautiful Mother in the World are the kind they especially love!
If you’re close enough, you must visit and eat until you can’t hold another bite.
Those far away make the mandatory phone call, or these days Skype.
Some families nowadays take Mamma out for dinner, or invite her in.
But still today, that seems almost a desecration to many Italian mothers. In her mind, why would they want to eat any cooking but hers?
If you do go to Mamma’s for dinner, don’t forget to take the dessert, or flowers, or both!
Usually a heart-shaped cake. Or at the very least some pastries. The son-in-law who overlooks this tradition might get blacklisted for all time!
Wives here often take back stage, and sometimes not only on Mother’s Day.
You’ll often hear Italians say, “You only have one mother!” Implying of course that makes her more special than anyone else. And it’s true that we usually only have one mother. But’s usually to best to have only one wife too. And she’s the one you pledged to love till death do you part! So don’t forget to honor your wife too!
Still, mothers everywhere deserve honor and recognition.
For the unconditional love they show. The unswerving loyalty. And the many sacrifices they selflessly make for the good of their families, both husband and children.
Which is why I chose to honor my beautiful mother-in-law with this family photo, taken before both my husband’s birth and the family’s later immigration to America. Though now passed on, with her noble beauty and undaunting sacrifice for her family, our Mamma Anna certainly deserves our respect and honor, and always will.
Not that my own mother is any less beautiful, noble or loving. But this post is about Italian mammas!
So, to all the Italian mammas, and mothers everywhere, Buona Festa della Mamma!”
[Image of my husband’s family before his birth via unknown photographer; all rights reserved.]