Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother’s Day…and once again we celebrate a holiday with its origins in ancient times…the Greeks honored Rhea, the wife of Cronus and the mother of many deities in a spring festival..
Ancient Romans celebrated a spring festival, called Hilaria dedicated to Cybele, a mother goddess. The celebration, held on the Ides of March (remember Julius Caesar) by making offerings in the temple of Cybele. It lasted for three days and included parades, games and masquerades. The celebrations were notorious enough that followers of Cybele were banished from Rome…rather “hilarious,” I think!

In England Mothers Day dates back to 1600s. Mothering Sunday was celebrated annually on the fourth Sunday of Lent to honor theVirgin Mary, and children brought gifts and flowers to pay tribute to their own mothers.

Custom of celebrating Mothering Sunday died out almost completely by the 19th century although in America Julia Ward Howe (she wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”) suggested that June 2 be annually celebrated as Mothers Day and should be dedicated to peace.

But it is Anna Jarvis who is recognized as the Founder of Mothers Day in US. Though Anna Jarvis never married and never had kids, she is also known as the Mother of Mothers Day, an apt title for the lady who worked hard to bestow honor on all mothers.

Her mother felt it should be a holiday, and, after her mother died, she lobbied for an official declaration of Mothers Day holiday. By 1911, Mother's Day was celebrated in almost every state in the Union and on May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a Resolution designating the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day.

Jarvis was not happy with the commercialization of the holiday, but it has become one of the busiest phone days (can you hear me now?) and last year over 3 billion dollars went to restaurants since you cannot make Mom cook on her day! It has become a worldwide holiday even though it is celebrated at different times of the year with 46 countries celebrating an official Mother's Day.

But as Washington Irving wrote, “A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavour by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”


Just a bed of roses said...

How sweet susan you and your mother must be out to lunch/dinner for Mothers Day...I agree with the sentence "mothers aren't going to cook" today! We are up early sampling the Potatoe salad my dh made last night for todays gathering. So he is trained well, isnt he?
Love finding out when Mothers Day started and what was behind it, AS ALWAYS you keep us informed on history...are you sure your an English teacher and NOT a HISTORY TEACHER?
Have a special some cake!

Anonymous said...

A wonderful history of Mother's Day!! We should all thank Anna Jarvis for the day that we can be grateful and proud of the job that all of our mothers did and continue to do for us. Thanks for the lesson on Mother's Day.