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MonMay 1

National Mother Goose Day – May 1, 2023

We are swept back to memories of our childhood whenever we hear of National Mother Goose Day on May 1. From Humpty Dumpty’s clumsy fall and the Three Little Pigs’ scramble for houses to Pinnochio’s elongated nose, fairy tales and nursery rhymes endlessly entertained us as kids whilst providing us with important life lessons. Charles Perrault, a French author, is thought to have been the first writer to establish fairy tales as a separate genre in 1695. Fast-forward a little further into the future, the Grimm fairy tales, which were published during the 19th century, have now become quite famous worldwide. Thanks to Disney, the Grimm fairy tales have become more child-friendly but, originally, they were gruesome in their details. For example, in the original version of “Snow White,” her stepmother died after being cursed to dance in glass heels forever.

History of National Mother Goose Day

Gloria. T. Delamar, a prominent fairy-tale writer, founded National Mother Goose Day in 1987. This was the same year when Delamar published “Mother Goose: From Nursery to Literature.” But the history of fairy-tales and subsequent nursery rhymes go quite further back in history. The French writer from the 17th century, Charles Perrault, is believed to have been the founder of the fairy-tale genre. It was through his works that fantasy and life lessons were incorporated for the first time. In 1729, an English version of Perrault’s work, translated by Robert Samber, was published and it was called “Histories, or, Tales of Past Times, Told by Mother Goose.”

Many of the original versions of fairy tales and nursery rhymes had much darker themes than the ones that we have today. In the Little Mermaid story, instead of Ariel’s happy ending, she returns to the sea and dies after turning into sea foam. Another example is the nursery rhyme, ‘Ring a Ring o Roses’, which refers to the bubonic plague. In the old days, fairy tales and nursery rhymes, much like poetry, would parody the political situations of a country. Sometimes, the satire would be taken with so much offense that the writer was put to death!

Many famous authors of the modern age, like C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, credit fairy tales and nursery rhymes with influencing their thinking and work. It is also because of these writers and their predecessors that many people get into reading in the first place, and this was the aim of Delamar and all the other nursery rhyme writers who wanted to encourage children to read. Studies show that reading fiction from a very young age creates empathy and these people tend to be leaders with great qualities and skills. Empathy, in itself, is an important quality in all walks of life.

National Mother Goose Day timeline

17 century
Fawkes’ ‘Remember Remember’

‘Remember Remember’ is a nursery rhyme that talks about Guy Fawkes’ failed attempt to blow up the English House of Parliament.

1797
Humpty Dumpty

While some sources say that Humpty Dumpty was based on true events involving Cardinal Wolsey and a canon from the English Civil War, the earliest version of the story is published in Samuel Arnold’s “Juvenile Amusements.”

19th century
Printed Rhyme Collections

The first set of printed nursery rhyme collections are distributed in the U.K. and the U.S.A., with “Mother Goose’s Melody” being one of the most prominent and sought-after books.

1986
Baa Baa Black Sheep Language Change

Britain is caught up in a controversy over language changes in ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’ for being racially dubious.

National Mother Goose Day FAQs

What is the story behind Mother Goose?

“According to local legend, it was the widowed Isaac Goose’s second wife, Elizabeth Foster Goose, who entertained her numerous grandchildren and other youngsters with songs and rhymes that were purportedly published by her son-in-law in 1719,” states History.com.

Is Mother Goose a real person?

No, she is a fictional character. There are several different versions of Mother Goose’s actual characterization. Some show her as an old granny, while others depict her as an old goose taking care of children. 

Why are Mother Goose rhymes important?

According to Pam Barn Hill, fairy-tales and nursery rhymes are important “for language acquisition and help with speech development. They help children develop auditory skills such as discriminating between sounds and developing the ear for the music of words. Rhymes like these help kids articulate words, modulate voices (practicing pitch, volume, and inflection) and enunciate clearly by saying them over and over without fear of criticism”.

National Mother Goose Day Activities

  1. Revisit your old stories

    Take a trip down memory lane by bringing out those old fairy tales and nursery rhymes from your childhood. Grab a snack or two for the reading session and just wind down for a bit.

  2. Arrange activities with the kids

    Celebrate the day with your kids by reading with them. You can take turns reading with the little ones and then discuss what your favorite part of the activity was.

  3. Eat some of the stories’ treats

    We don’t know about you, but we sure did want to have a bite of those hot cross buns being sold for one a penny or two a penny. You can order the food of your choice for delivery or make them at home from scratch. Either way, it is going to be a fun day.

5 Facts About The Grimm Brothers That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. Fairy tales not for the young ones

    The Grimm brothers intended for their fairy tales to be read by adults instead of children, and this is also why the original fairy tales were much more gruesome than the ‘clean and safe’ versions today.

  2. The brothers were not the writers

    The Grimm brothers were not the actual writers of the stories but were only collectors of them whose sole purpose it was to preserve the German oral traditions’ stories that had been passed down for generations.

  3. Grimms’ stories a blockbuster success

    The Grimm brothers’ stories were a blockbuster hit, so much so, that these books are believed to have out-sold Shakespeare and the Bible.

  4. English translations of the Grimm stories

    Edgar Taylor translated and published the Grimm brothers’ stories in England in 1823.

  5. One of the most-published books

    The Grimm fairy tales are some of the most-published books in the world with multiple versions.

Why We Love National Mother Goose Day

  1. It’s a celebration of our childhood

    Childhood nostalgia beckons with a promise of dragon rides and amazing adventures. Through fairy tales and nursery rhymes, we’ve made memories and bonds to last us a lifetime.

  2. It’s a celebration of stories

    Stories have the power to take us on journeys without moving from our seats. Stories do not require us to fill out extensive visa documents or have disposable funds for traveling. All it requires is imagination and off you go on a great adventure.

  3. It’s a celebration of life lessons

    Teaching life lessons and their importance to kids is extremely important. And doing so through a medium like fairy tales and nursery rhymes makes it all the more fun.

National Mother Goose Day dates

YearDateDay
2023May 1Monday
2024May 1Wednesday
2025May 1Thursday
2026May 1Friday
2027May 1Saturday
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