To Mothers One and All

by Dennis Machicao

Mother’s Day, a day that we honor our mothers for all they have and are doing to make us a better person has its origins in the early nineteen hundreds.

The originator of the American Mother’s Day, that falls on the second Sunday in May, is Anna Jarvis of West Virginia in 1908 and was declared an official holiday in 1914 by president Woodrow Wilson. Oddly enough Anna Jarvis was unmarried and childless and devoted the latter part of her life denouncing the holiday because she felt it became too commercialized.

But the honoring of mothers goes back much further in history. The Romans and Greeks had feasts honoring the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele.  Going forward in time, this recognition of motherhood was a Christian Festival known as Mothering Sunday celebrated in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe. This festival fell on the fourth Sunday in Lent and really was a means of the faithful returning to their  “mother church” that was in the vicinity where they lived.  With time, it became a more secular event devoted to ones own mother.

The American holiday inspired by Anna Reeves Jarvis, mother of Anna Jarvis, really has its early beginnings dating back to the Civil War years, 1861-65.  Mothers’ Day Work Clubs were formed to teach women how to care for their children unifying the region that was divided by the Civil War.  After the war, Jarvis organize Mothers’ Friendship Day gathering together mothers, Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation.

Persistent to make Mothers Day a holiday, Anna Jarvis started a massive letter writing campaign to newspapers and politicians of influence to establish a day of honoring mothers. By 1912 many states, towns and churches took up the annual celebration of mothers and eventually got the attention of President Wilson to officially adopt the second Sunday in May as a national holiday in 1914.

Anna Jarvis took up the wearing of a white carnation as a symbol of honoring ones’ mother thus starting the tradition of giving flowers on that day.

Happy Mothers Day to past, present and future mothers that have, are, and will guide the future of their children.

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