Posted by: coyotespirit | March 19, 2009

History of Mother’s Day

Mother’s day originated in ancient Greece when the Greek people honored Rhea calling her the Mother of the Gods. Leaping a bit forward to the 1600’s we find that Christians in England celebrated a special day in honor of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Eventually the day was called Mothering Sunday since it included all mothers.

England’s hierarchy had at the time two basic classes of people-the very wealthy and the servants. Even though most of the servants lived in the houses of their wealthy employers they actually received the day off to go back to their mothers and celebrate. They even brought with them a mothering cake to share with their mothers during the festivities of Mothering Sunday, as the day was called.

When the Colonists landed in America, they discontinued the practice, however eventually Julia Ward Howe who was a social activist brought the day of celebration back after being influenced by Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis, who worked feverishly to improve sanitation by creating a “Mothers Friendship Day.” Julia Ward Howe is well remembered as being the writer of The Battle Hymn of the Republic. She was extremely passionate about wars and begged women to rise against the Franco-Prussian War. In 1872-1873 she promoted many peace-oriented suggestions, including a Mother’s Day, which she called a “Mother’s Day for Peace.”

Meanwhile, Anna Jarvis, the daughter of Ann Marie Jarvis, from Pennsylvania, took on the crusade and suggestions for a day of celebrating motherhood, and eventually began an earnest writing campaign to establish a national Mother’s Day. She was instrumental in creating an International Mother’s Day Shrine in Grafton, West Virginia. Just the thought of celebrating Mother’s Day helped create The Mother’s Day International Association in December 1912.

It was not until May 9, 1914, that a Presidential proclamation by President Woodrow Wilson declared that the 2nd Sunday of May was to be observed as Mother’s Day to celebrate and honor motherhood.

In celebration for finally having had an official Mother’s day passed by the President, Anna Jarvis had undertaken to deliver a white carnation to each and every member of her mother’s church to commemorate her deceased mother on the first Mother’s Day. Carnations have represented Mother’s Day ever since, and florists have created a new custom, that of wearing a red carnation on Mother’s Day if she’s alive and a white carnation if she’s passed on.

Later in 1934, even the Post Office celebrated Mother’s Day by creating a special stamp commemorating Mother’s Day. The stamp featured the famous “Whistler’s Mother” painting whose appellation is actually “Arrangement in Grey and Black.”

Mother’s Day is celebrated at different times of the year with each country having designated a certain day for it. Granted that Mother’s Day has now turned extremely commercial, however we Americans still take our Moms out to eat, give her gifts, candy, mother’s jewelry, greeting cards and flowers; in an effort to voice the very thanks we owe her for all that she’s done for us every second Sunday in May!

About the Author

Amy Carrington is a fashion maven and an editor at Sorella personalized jewelry captures the joy of life’s special occasions – for you and those you care for. Specializing in truly personal mother’s jewelry and custom wedding rings.

The poet can often sum up the words stuck deep in our hearts better than we can. If you need a poem for Mother’s Day or another occasion, consider these classic and timeless poems:

To My Mother

You too, my mother, read my rhymes
For love of unforgotten times,
And you may chance to hear once more
The little feet along the floor.
– By Robert Louis Stevenson