Mother Whistler Day
annually on May 18th
Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1, a portrait James Abbott McNeil Whistler painted in 1871 of his mother, Anna McNeil Whistler, is unofficially known as Whistler's Mother, and is one of the most famous paintings by an American citizen that is not kept in the United States, is housed at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris. It is unknown why Mother Whistler Day takes place on May 18, although the May 18, 1977, edition of The Journal Herald says "today is the birthday of Mother Whistler," perhaps suggesting that the portrait was painted or made public on the date. The source adds that "a group from Huntingdon Valley, Pa." are the day's sponsors and they say of the day, "it's time to whistle while you work, play or whatever," implying that the celebration of Mother Whistler Day has little to do with Whistler's Mother.
More recent online sources support the position that the focus of Mother Whistler Day is on whistling and whistlers, saying it's for celebrating all those who can whistle. Whistling is done by making a small opening with the lips and blowing or sucking air through. Airflow and sound can be altered by curling the tongue and changing the shape of the lips or fingers. Whistling is used in music, by spectators at sporting events to show approval and disapproval, at competitions, and for communication—between people and to animals.
How to Observe Mother Whistler Day
Some ways you could celebrate Mother Whistler Day include:
- Do some whistling. You could "whistle while you work, play or whatever."
- Blow a whistle.
- Take part in a whistling contest.
- Listen to some songs that feature whistling.
- View Whistler's Mother at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.
- Stop at the Whistler's Mother statue in Ashland, Pennsylvania.
- Watch Bean, a film in which Mr. Bean gets into all sorts of trouble with Whistler's Mother.