History History of Mother’s Day
As Mother’s Day approaches, I thought it would be fun to look at part of the history of the day. Much to my surprise, Hallmark didn’t invent it!
The history of Mother’s Day is centuries old and goes back to the times of ancient Greeks, who held festivities to honor Rhea, the mother of the gods. The early Christians celebrated the Mother’s festival on the fourth Sunday of Lent to honor Mary, the mother of Christ. Interestingly, later on a religious order stretched the holiday to include all mothers, and named it as the Mothering Sunday. The English colonists settled in America discontinued the tradition of Mothering Sunday because of lack of time. In 1872 Julia Ward Howe organized a day for mothers dedicated to peace. It is a landmark in the history of Mother’s Day.
In 1907, Anna M. Jarvis (1864-1948), a Philadelphia schoolteacher, began a movement to set up a national Mother’s Day in honor of her mother, Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis. She solicited the help of hundreds of legislators and prominent businessmen to create a special day to honor mothers. The first Mother’s Day observance was a church service honoring Anna’s mother. Anna handed out her mother’s favorite flowers, the white incarnations, on the occasion as they represent sweetness, purity, and patience. Anna’s hard work finally paid off in the year 1914, when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as a national holiday in honor of mothers.
Slowly and gradually the Mother’s day became very popular and gift giving activity increased. All this commercialization of the Mother’s day infuriated Anna as she believed that the day’s sentiment was being sacrificed at the expense of greed and profit.