THE ORIGIN OF MOTHER'S DAY
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The Origin of Mother’s Day
Mother’s Day is a
holiday today that sees sales skyrocket in florist boutiques and
where phone lines burn across the world as people call their moms to
wish them a happy Mother’s Day and tell them how much they are loved
and appreciated. And even though Mother’s Day might even be a bigger
commercial holiday than Valentine’s Day, this has not always been
the way. But even the Romans and the Greeks that first celebrated
this holiday did something special to celebrate their mothers.
Centuries ago, the Greeks and the
Romans would offer different sacrifices every year to honor Rhea and
Cybele, who were thought to be motherly figures to many different
deities. These sacrifices would be made every year in the spring. It
wasn’t long until the Christians started to catch onto the trend.
They then started to use the festival of Lent to celebrate the
virgin mother Mary.
England also soon picked up the
holiday, although it was known as “Mothering Sunday” around Britain.
At the time that England started celebrating Mothering Sunday, there
were also many poor peasants that worked for the wealthy in their
homes and lived there with them. On Mothering Sunday however, they
were free from the duty of work in order that they may visit their
mothers, which was something they often didn’t get the chance to do.
When Christianity caught on throughout Europe, the holidays were
combined together and known as “Mother Church.”
Even though the tradition of Mother’s
Day started thousands of years ago, it didn’t come into the United
States until 1872 when the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” was written
by Julia Ward Howe. At the same time of the writing, Howe also began
encouraging mothers to fight against the war by letting their voices
be heard and to offer peace to those whose lives were in upheaval.
Shortly after that when the Civil War ended, Anna Jarvis proclaimed
herself as a spokesman and a mentor for anyone who needed comfort
and support after the war.
After Anna Jarvis passed away her
daughter, also named Anna, wanted to honor her mother. But she
didn’t want to just honor her own mother. She wanted to honor all
mothers across the world. Anna was very serious about getting
Mother’s Day instituted as a national holiday in the United States.
First she started working with the church that her mother had been a
member of. Once word has spread and people started liking the idea
more and more, thousands of women and men across the country started
sending letters to government officials about declaring Mother’s Day
a national holiday. It started off state by state, with one state
declaring the day and then another. After tons of hard work and
dedication, President Wilson declared the second Sunday of every May
as Mother’s Day.
But Anna soon regretted her decision to
campaign so fiercely for this holiday. She loathed the commercialism
that the holiday had brought about. And she despised seeing the
holiday she commemorated as a special time to thank mothers, turned
into a special way to thank manufacturers of gifts. Anna actually
tried to sue a city who had held a Mother’s Day festival, and she
was also arrested for disturbing the peace when she tried to break
up a group of mothers selling war flowers.
So this Mother’s Day, treat your mom to a nice dinner and a bouquet
of her most very favorite flowers. But more importantly than that,
make sure you give your mom a big hug and tell her just how much you
love her, and appreciate all the hard work she does. As Anna herself
would tell you, that’s what the day is really all about.