Friday, May 07, 2010

Mother's Day! Origins, facts and wishes...

“The sweetest sounds to mortals given
Are heard in Mother, Home, and Heaven.”
~William Goldsmith Brown

This Sunday is a big day in the life of mothers. In fact, our country has celebrated Mother's Day on the second Sunday in May ever since President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed it as a national holiday in 1914.

Celebrating motherhood dates back to the time of the ancient Greeks. 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.

But actually, the whole notion of honoring our mothers in America began long before President Wilson's declaration in 1914.  

Julia Ward Howe  best know as the author of 'Battle Hymn of the Republic', saw Mother’s Day as being dedicated to peace. She wanted to use Mothers Day to help heal the scars that had resulted from the Civil War.

The "Mother's Day Proclamation" was one of the early calls to celebrate Mother's Day in the United States. Written in 1870, Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation was a pacifist reaction to the carnage of the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. The Proclamation was tied to Howe's feminist belief that women had a responsibility to shape their societies at the political level.  

But it wasn’t Julia Ward Howe who is recognized for the Mother's Day holiday that we now enjoy. It was a Philadelphia woman by the name of Anna M. Jarvis who is universally credited with founding the holiday.

That is just part of the story about how one of our nation’s most coveted days began. Strangely, the rest of the story has been forgotten, given way I guess to all the commercialism that Mother's Day now carries with it. The woman who is renowned as the founder of the holiday, Jarvis, would roll over in her grave if she could see how we celebrate Mother’s Day in the 21st century.


International Women's Day was celebrated for the first time in February 1909, in the US, by which time Anna Jarvis had already begun her national campaign in the US.

In 1907, Anna M. Jarvis (1864-1948), a Philadelphia schoolteacher, just two years after losing her own mother, began a movement to set up a national Mother's Day in honor of her mother, Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis.  The first Mother's Day observance was a church service honoring Anna's mother. Anna handed out one of her mother's favorite flowers, white carnations, on the occasion as they represent sweetness, purity, and patience. She was so moved by what she experienced that she embarked on a national campaign to have our country honor the many contributions that mothers make. She solicited the help of hundreds of legislators and prominent businessmen to create a special day to honor mothers. In 1910, West Virginia became the first state to celebrate Mother’s Day and a year later, most of the country’s other states officially set aside the day as well. The momentum was obviously too great for President Wilson to refuse Jarvis’ quest to honor her own mother by designating a day each year for all of us to honor our mothers. 

Some interesting history is what you probably don’t know is that Anna Jarvis spent the rest of her life trying to undo what she had done.

Enraged by the commercialization that an entrepreneurial America developed for Mothers Day, Jarvis filed a lawsuit in 1923 to stop a Mother’s Day festival. She was later arrested for disturbing the peace when she learned that a war mother’s convention was selling white carnations—  Jarvis’ own chosen symbol for mothers—to raise money. “This is not what I intended,” Jarvis said. “I wanted it to be a day of sentiment, not profit!”

Well history wasn’t very kind to Anna Jarvis. She had obviously started something that she couldn’t stop. She died at 84, never a mother herself, a woman of strange irony. In fact, she spent the most of the fortune her own mother left her to fight a holiday she created to honor her. Just before her death, Jarvis told a reporter she regretted she had ever started Mothers Day. What’s equally ironic is she made that comment from her room in nursing home, a room that had been filled with cards every Mother’s Day honoring her for what she had done.

I myself am proud to honor Mothers of all kinds for their selflessness, unconditional love, sacrifice and not to mention without them, none of would be here! It does not have to be about the fancy gifts, flowers and store bought cards, it is about honoring someone special in your life and heart.

 Interesting facts :

Mother's Day is now celebrated in many countries around the world. Australia, Mexico, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Belgium, Russia, China, Thailand, all have special celebrations to honor Mothers, but not in the same way or on the same day as the United States.

  • Ancient Egyptians celebrated this day by honoring the goddess Isis, who was known as 'mother of pharaohs.
  • Eve is credited with being the "Mother of All the Living", in the Bible. 
  • Rosa Parks was the mother of bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama that launched the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Mother Shipton was a Prophetess in Britain 500 years ago. She could see the future, and predicted that another Queen Elizabeth would sit on the throne of England. (QE II)
  • Buddha honored mothers when he said, "As a mother, even at the risk of her own life, loves and protects her child, so let a man cultivate love without measure toward the whole world."
  • Mother Earth is also known as "Terra Firma". That title is a Latin translation of some lines from one of the Greek poet, Homer.
  • Mother Goose is one of the most popular of all children's entertainers. Her books and stories have been loved for many generations.
  • 52 % of the words for mother in the material have ma/me/mo or na/ne/no in the root syllable poems.
  • The wife of Russian Fedor Vassilyev is credited by the 1997 Guinness Book of Records as having given birth to most children. She delivered 69 children, which included 16 pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets, and four sets of quadruplets.
  • World's youngest mother is Lina Medina, credited by Guinness Book of Records, who delivered a 6½-pound boy in Lima, Peru in 1939, at an age of 5 years and 7 months.

I want to wish all my readers whether you are a 'Mother' of one or many, boy or girl, one of any color and many forms of 'skin': be it human, mammal, feathered or fin ~ (and not forgetting you men who do the job as well as many a mother) a day full of love, hugs, kisses and happy memories to fill your heart with joy! Celebrate your own way, start your own traditions and remember to pass on the the wishes!

        Faythe ~


  1. Canada celebrates on the same day and in the same way as the states. ;) Happy Mother's Day, Faythe! I'm so glad to have "met" you!!

  2. Who would of thought there would be so much information available Thanks so much for sharing

  3. Love your "wordy" Mother's Day post! We try not to go overboard on fancy things here either. I found a pretty plant for my mom and will have her over for dinner to spend time together, that's what matters the most!

    Happy Mother's Day to you Faythe! May the sun smile on you :)

  4. I love that Eve was considered the mother of all living. Wonderful. Happy Mother's Day from one mom to another. I know you are a great one and I wish you a very very happy day :)

  5. Happy Mother's Day Faythe! :)

  6. Happy Mother's Day Faythe! You're an awesome person!

  7. This cracked me up: "The English colonists settled in America discontinued the tradition of Mothering Sunday because of lack of time."

    Even back then, moms were put on the back burner! LOL

  8. WOW! I had no idea! Happy Mother's Day to you!

  9. Happy belated Mother's Day to you too! What an interesting post. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for stopping by, and the sweet comment.


Thank you for stopping and reading today.
Comments are always welcome :)