Happy Mothers Day – With a Bit of History

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Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there. I hope the day is joyous. We don’t need gifts and stuff, we just need our children and husbands to appreciate us and to tell us they love us. We also want them to show us they love us by the way they act on this special day set aside for moms.

Dave did a beautiful post on Mother’s Day that I want to share with you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Thank you Dave for your thoughtfulness.

Repost from digitalDave on Sodahead.com

mom jewel daveThere are so many great Moms and Moms by proxy or Moms in the making here on SH,

I just want to tell you all…
Happy Mother’s Day and may the Lord bless you all always in all ways. xo -Dave

My mom is so sweet, and loving, everyone who knows her is surely blessed. She is a comic genius, a political brain, an awesome cook, a kind friend, a caring Grandma…not to mention a jazz artist, painter, poet and local radio personality. But to me, she is mom, my loving sweet and caring mom!!

I thought it might be interesting to look at a little history of Mothers Day… Let’s go!

Mother’s Day, like so many holidays is very old and the earliest Mother’s Day celebrations seemingly come from ancient Greece.

Though the meaning and celebration have over the eons changed from the way we celebrate now.

In the 1600’s, early English Christians celebrated a day to honor Mary, Christ’s Mother. Later it was expanded to include all Mothers and celebrated on the 4th Sunday of Lent and titled “Mothering Sunday” to honor all the mothers of England. At this time England’s poorest worked as servants for the wealthy. As most jobs were located far from their homes, servants lived at the houses of their employers. On Mothering Sunday, servants were given the day off and encouraged to return home to spend the day with their mothers. A special mothering cake, was often brought along to provide a festive touch. Over time, this tradition slowly became forgotten.

In the United States, Mother’s Day was loosely inspired by the British day and was first suggested after the American Civil War by Julia Ward Howe. Howe (who wrote the words to the Battle hymn of the Republic) was horrified by the carnage of the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War and so, in 1870, she tried to issue a manifesto for peace at international peace conferences in London and Paris (it was much like the later Mother’s Day Peace Proclamation).

During the Franco-Prussian war in the 1870s, Julia began a one-woman peace crusade and made an impassioned “appeal to womanhood” to rise against war. She composed in Boston a powerful plea that same year (generally considered to be the original Mothers’ Day proclamation*) translated it into several languages and distributed it widely. In 1872, she went to London to promote an international Woman’s Peace Congress. She began promoting the idea of a “Mother’s Day for Peace” to be celebrated on June 2, honoring peace, motherhood and womanhood. In the Boston Mass, she initiated a Mothers’ Peace Day observance on the second Sunday in June, a practice that was to be established as an annual event and practiced for at least 10 years.

The day was, however, mainly intended as a call to unite women against war. It was due to her efforts that in 1873, women in 18 cities in America held a Mother’s Day for Pace gathering. Howe rigorously championed the cause of official celebration of Mothers Day and declaration of official holiday on the day. She held meetings every year at Boston on Mother’s Peace Day and took care that the day was well-observed. The celebrations died out when she turned her efforts to working for peace and women’s rights in other ways. Howe failed in her attempt to get the formal recognition of a Mother’s Day for Peace. Her remarkable contribution in the establishment of Mother’s Day, however, remains in the fact that she organized a Mother’s Day dedicated to peace. It is a landmark in the history of Mother’s Day in the sense that this was to be the precursor to the modern Mother’s Day celebrations. To acknowledge Howe’s achievements a stamp was issued in her honor in 1988.

It should be well to remember that Howe’s idea was influenced by Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker who, starting in 1858, had attempted to improve sanitation through what she called “Mothers Friendship Day”. In the 1900’s, at a time when most women devoted their time solely on their family and homes, Jarvis was working to assist in the healing of the nation after the Civil War. She organized women throughout the Civil War to work for better sanitary conditions for both sides and in 1868 she began work to reconcile Union and Confederate neighbors. Ann was instrumental in saving thousands of lives by teaching women in her Mothers Friendship Clubs the basics of nursing and sanitation which she had learned from her famous physician brother James Reeves, M.D. In parts of the United States it was customary to plant tomatoes outdoors after Mother’s Work Days (and not before).

It was Jarvis’ daughter, Anna Jarvis, who finally succeeded in introducing Mother’s Day in the sense as we celebrate it today. Anna graduated from the Female Seminary in Wheeling and taught in Grafton for a while. Later she moved to Philadelphia with her family. Anna had spent many years looking after her ailing mother. This is why she preferred to remain a spinster. When her mother died in Philadelphia on May 9, 1905, Anna missed her greatly. So did her sister Elsinore whom she looked after as well. Anna felt children often neglected to appreciate their mother enough while the mother was still alive. Now, she intended to start a Mother’s Day, as an honoring of the mothers. In 1907, two years after her mother’s death, Anna Jarvis disclosed her intention to her friends who supported her cause wholeheartedly. So supported by her friends, Anna decided to dedicate her life to her mother’s cause and to establish Mother’s Day to “honor mothers, living and dead.” She started the campaign to establish a national Mother’s Day. With her friends, she started a letter-writing campaign to urge ministers, businessmen and congressmen in declaring a national Mother’s Day holiday. She hoped Mother’s Day would increase respect for parents and strengthen family bonds.

As a result of her efforts the first mother’s day was observed on May 10, 1908, by a church service honoring Late Mrs. Reese Jarvis, in the Andrews Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia, where she spent 20 years taking Sunday school classes. Grafton is the home to the International Mother’s Day Shrine. Another service was also conducted on the same date in Philadelphia where Mrs. Jarvis died, leaving her two daughters Anna and Elsinore. So it was more of an homage service for Mrs. Reeves Jarvis than a general one conducted in honor of motherhood. Nevertheless, this set the stage for the later Mother’s Day observances held in the honor of motherhood.

From there, the custom caught on — spreading eventually to 45 states. The first Mother’s Day proclamation was issued by the governor of West Virginia in 1910. Oklahoma celebrated it in that same year. It stirred the same way in as far west as the state of Washington. And by 1911 there was not a state in the Union that did not have its own observances for Mother’s Day. Soon it crossed the national boundary, as people in Mexico, Canada, South America, China, Japan and Africa all joined the spree to celebrate a day for mother love.

The House of Representatives in May 1913 unanimously adopted a resolution requesting the President, his cabinet, the members of both Houses and all officials of the federal government to wear a white carnation on Mother’s Day. On May 7,1914, a resolution providing that the second Sunday in May be designated Mother’s Day was introduced by Representative James T. Heflin of Alabama and Senator Morris Sheppard of Texas. It passed both Houses on May 9, 1914.

“Arrangement in Grey and Black” aka Whistler’s Mother

In 1934 Postmaster General James A. Farley announced a stamp to commemorate Mother’s Day. The stamp featured this famous painting.

The painting was a portrait of the mother of James Abbott McNeill Whistler, an English artist. It was brought into the United States as part of an exhibit in the year 1934.

Regardless of the pros and cons of the commercialization of this day, Mother’s Day continues to be one of the most commercially successful U.S. occasions. According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother’s Day is now the most popular day of the year to dine out at a restaurant in the United States. The occasion is now celebrated not so much with flags as with gifts, cards, hugs, thank you’s and other tokens of affection. While many countries of the world celebrate their own Mother’s Day on different days and at different times throughout the year, there are some countries such as Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Australia, and Belgium which also celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May. In some countries, the appreciation lasts for two days.

This is one day, we can all get behind someone… Mom, we love you!

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