The History of Mother's Day
Can you imagine being the mother that inspired and started Mother's Day???? What a mom she must have been! I don't think any of us believe that we are THAT good at this thing called mothering. We all hope we do good. We hope we do it right. We never know until they go off on their journey and we see them use what we have taught.
This is Ann Reeves Jarvis. This is the face of the mother that started it all. The mother that inspired her daughter to created and campaign for a special day for moms. She, herself, was an amazing woman.
Prior to the Civil War she had "Mother's Day Work Clubs" to teach West Virginia women how to care for their children. And "Mother's Friendship Day" where moms gathered with former soldiers from both sides to help in a resolution and a reconciliation.
These two reasons alone would have been a great reason. But, being the humble woman she was, she didn't fight or ask. She fought her fight quietly. She died in 1905.
Here comes her daughter Anna Jarvis. The creator of Mother's Day!
Anna was from Philadelphia. She never married or had children. She did have an amazing respect for her mother and motherhood. She is quoted saying that she was inspired by a prayer she overheard from her mother.
"I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mother's day commemorating her for the matchless service she renders to humanity in every field of life. She is entitled to it."
This is beautiful. Anna apparently thought so too. She organized the first official Mother's Day celebration at a Methodist church in West Virginia in 1908. It was a great success!!
Originally, Anna promoted wearing a white carnation as a tribute to mom. The carnation is the perfect flower because it doesn't drop their pedals when they die. They hug them to its heart until it dies. Like, a mother that hugs their children to their hearts, their love is never dying.
The custom evolved into a red or pink for mom and white for deceased.
She accomplished exactly what she wanted. She campaigned for years with letters to politicians, business leaders, and the President himself.
But, seeing it evolve away from the carnation and appreciation into sending gifts, cards, candy.....commercialism, she spent the rest of her life trying to abolish the holiday.
Believe it or not, these weren't the only ones to try an official day for mothers. In ancient times they had festivals that honored mothers and mother goddesses. The Phrygians festival was for the Great Mother of the Gods, Cybele. The Greeks celebrated with a festival their goddess Rhea. The Romans then adapted that.
Julia Ward Howe was a politically active abolitionist and suffragette. She wrote a "Mother's Day Proclamation" in 1870. This was a call for all moms to unite and promote world peace. She campaigned for June 2nd to be "Mother's Peace Day".
Some countries have continued to observe their ancient festivals. The biggest and oldest being the festival of Durga-puja, honoring the goddess Durga in India.
Sadly, none of these stuck. But, what great ideas......
After ALL of this, in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson made it an official holiday to be celebrated on the second Sunday of May every year.
I've always loved mother's day. I am one myself, 4 daughters. All I ever wanted was not to cook or clean on that day! I'm blessed that that tradition has lived on since they have all, but one, moved out. Now I'm a substitute mom for my siblings, son in law, and the young to young at heart that I sew for.
Please sign up so you can comment. I would love to hear what you do for mother's day, traditions, favorite memories....... I lost my mom 5 years ago. I think that mother's day is a good day to reflect why we chose to be mother's, understand and make peace with how well we mother, pat ourselves on the back for all the things do for others, and to remember the mom's that got us here.
P.S. when you sign up you get a discount. Maybe find something special for the special mom you know.
Have a beautiful day, Rebecca