Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother's Day History

It's a day when lots of people get their mothers cards and flowers, or take them to brunch, or maybe try to make them breakfast-in-bed. But did you ever wonder how this whole Mother's Day thing got started?

Mother's Day can be traced back more than 2,000 years, to a celebration held every spring in Greece. The celebration honored Rhea, the goddess who was considered the mother of all the other Greek gods.

Around 400 years ago, a holiday called "Mothering Sunday" became common in England. It was celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent, which is the period leading up to the Christian holiday of Easter.

In the United States, the social activist and poet Julia Ward Howe is given credit for suggesting the celebration of Mother's Day back in 1872. Howe saw it as a day that should be dedicated to peace.

But many people consider the Mother of Mother's Day in America as Anna Jarvis.

In the first decade of the 20th century, she started a campaign to make Mother's Day a national holiday, after the death of her own mother.

On May 10, 1907, she organized a special Mother's Day service at her mother's church in her hometown of Grafton, West Virginia. She chose the second Sunday of May because that was the anniversary of her mother's passing.

Jarvis then got financial backing for her campaign from wealthy Philadelphia philanthropist John Wanamaker, the founder of one of the first department stores in the United States. Just seven years later, on May 14, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation that made Mother's Day a national holiday, on the second Sunday of May each year.

For Jarvis, Mother's Day was not a day to go out and buy something for your mother.

In fact, by most accounts, she opposed what she saw as the growing commercialization of the holiday.

She saw it as a day to honor women for the work they do as mothers, not as a day to make money.

So if you don't have money to buy your mom a gift, don't worry. Just do something nice for her, to show her you appreciate what she does for you every day.

Chances are, that you'll be enough of a gift for her.

Happy Mother's Day

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