The story behind Mother's Day

Katherine - posted on 05/08/2012 ( 1 mom has responded )




The second Sunday of May is Mother’s Day. It has become, like Valentine’s, a bit of a hearts and flowers day to celebrate mom.

But that is not exactly how it began.

The history of Mother’s Day is reasonably short when you think about the history of the world. The founding of a “Mother’s Day” in America was a call to women to help end war – a kind of mother’s march for peace. It began with a Mother’s Day proclamation in 1870 by the writer of "The Battle Hymn of the Repulic," Julia Ward Howe. Howe’s idea of Mother’s Day faded at some point.

But years later, another woman took up the mantel with the same idea. That mother’s should call for peace. She was Anna Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia who wanted to heal the wounds left by families divided during The Civil War. While the acceptance of a national day did not happen in her lifetime, her daughter Anna Jarvis made it her life’s work. She trademarked the phrases "second Sunday in May" and "Mother's Day” in 1912 and it was signed into federal law in 1914. Churches began to use carnations for moms in attendance. By all accounts, Jarvis became angry at what she saw as the commercialization of the day. She also fought for the use of her trademarked name but lost to common usage. By the time she died, in 1948, 40 countries adopted her date and name, but the traditions took on the more modern appeal of a "Happy Mother's Day."

Today, it is another “Hallmark Holiday.”

Of course, greeting card companies love Mother’s Day, as do the florists. You might get your first card when you are a mom-to-be and then there is that very first Mother’s Day you celebrate as a new mom if you are lucky enough to be at home with a new healthy baby in your arms. But Mother’s Day can be a sticky situation, too, when multiple generations are involved. Do you cook and invite company to celebrate Mother’s Day for your mom? Or do you always go to your grandmother’s for that Sunday, celebrating with multiple generations? Do you make sure everything is perfect for your elders, including your kids, making it less than a stress-free day for you, the mom in the middle.

Restaurants tend to be packed. Dads and kids trying to give mom a day off make reservations or decide to eat out rather than have mom in the kitchen. Signs for “Mother’s Day Buffet” abound. The Family Circus comic one year showed another way to celebrate: Dad took the kids out to the movies leaving mom on the sofa with her feet up. One might say, it was a day of peace after all.

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[deleted account]

In the UK, Mothers Day (traditionally called Mothering Sunday) is the fourth Sunday in Lent (so traditionally in March, but can be early April - depending on when Lent/Easter is). Traditionally on Mothering Sunday, people visited the Mother Church (basically the Cathedral, which is the Mother Church to all the other Churches in the area). It has been traditionally this Sunday every year for about 400 years.

Certainly now a days, it's taken on the more secular approach - with presents/cards for the Mums and Mum being treated for the one day a year, supposedly.

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