Mother’s Day is a special occasion celebrated worldwide to honor mothers and mother figures for their love, care, and nurturing. Originating in the United States, Mother’s Day has evolved into a global celebration with a sad history.
Fun Facts about Mother’s Day
Ancient Roots: The concept of honoring mothers has ancient roots, with festivals dedicated to mother goddesses celebrated in various cultures, such as the Greek cult to Cybele, Rhea and the Roman festival of Hilaria
Early Christian Influence: In the 16th century, the Christian celebration of “Mothering Sunday” became popular in England. It fell on the fourth Sunday of Lent and honored the Virgin Mary.
Julia Ward Howe: The modern-day Mother’s Day movement in the United States can be traced back to the efforts of Julia Ward Howe. In 1870, she wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” calling for peace and disarmament.
Anna Jarvis: Anna Jarvis, an American social activist, is credited as the founder of Mother’s Day in the United States. She tirelessly campaigned for an official day to honor mothers, and in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation declaring the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
Carnations: Anna Jarvis chose white carnations as the symbol of Mother’s Day. Wearing a white carnation indicated that one’s mother was deceased, while a colored carnation represented a living mother. Today, various flowers are given to mothers on this special day.
Mother’s Day Around the World
United Kingdom: Mothering Sunday, as mentioned earlier, is still celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent in the UK. It has religious roots but is now widely regarded as a day to honor mothers.
Mexico: In Mexico, Mother’s Day is celebrated on May 10th each year. Festivities include music, food, and colorful displays of appreciation for mothers.
Japan: Mother’s Day, known as “Haha no Hi,” is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. Traditionally, children present their mothers with red carnations, expressing gratitude and love.
Ethiopia: In Ethiopia, a festival called “Antrosht” celebrates motherhood and the end of the rainy season. Families come together to enjoy a large feast and honor their mothers.
The Ugly Truth About the Mother’s Day
Anna Jarvis, the woman credited as the founder of Mother’s Day, had a vision of a simple and heartfelt day to honor and appreciate mothers. However, she became deeply disillusioned by the commercialization of the holiday that occurred shortly after its official establishment. Let’s delve into the truth about Anna Jarvis and the journey of Mother’s Day before it transformed into a multi-billion dollar industry.
Anna Jarvis was born on May 1, 1864, in Webster, West Virginia. She was inspired by her own mother, Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis, who had organized “Mother’s Day Work Clubs” during the Civil War era. These clubs were focused on improving sanitation and health conditions in their communities, and later, they promoted reconciliation between the Union and Confederate soldiers.
Following her mother’s death in 1905, Anna Jarvis sought to honor her and all mothers. She believed in a personal and sincere recognition of mothers, devoid of commercial interests. Jarvis organized the first official Mother’s Day service on May 10, 1908, at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia. The day gained traction, and by 1914, President Woodrow Wilson declared the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day, a nationally recognized holiday in the United States.
However, as Mother’s Day gained popularity, it also attracted the attention of businesses eager to profit from the occasion. Florists, card companies, and other merchants saw an opportunity to capitalize on the sentiments associated with the day. Anna Jarvis grew increasingly dismayed by the commercialization of Mother’s Day and the rampant exploitation of her heartfelt intentions.
Jarvis vehemently opposed the commercialization and exploitation of the holiday. She even filed lawsuits against companies she believed were misusing the name “Mother’s Day” or profiting from it in an unsavory manner. Jarvis’s efforts to protect the sanctity of Mother’s Day eventually took a toll on her mental and financial well-being.
Despite her relentless fight against commercialization, Anna Jarvis couldn’t reverse the trend. The holiday became synonymous with greeting cards, flowers, chocolates, and other gifts. It transformed into a massive industry generating billions of dollars in revenue each year.
It’s tragic that her simple and meaningful celebration of mothers took on a life of its own. She passed away on November 24, 1948, in a sanatorium, with hardly any financial resources remaining.
Despite the commercialization, the essence of Mother’s Day remains an opportunity to honor and appreciate the unconditional love and sacrifices of mothers worldwide.
Celebrating Mother’s Day without a Mother
My mother died in 2017 and since then Mother’s Day has shifted. I feel a deeper connection to honor my female ancestors. We can honor and celebrate maternal figures of our choosing. While you may not have a biological mother, there may be other influential women in your life who have nurtured and cared for you. Take this day to honor grandmothers, aunts, sisters, or mentors who have played a maternal role.
Reflect and Remember: Use Mother’s Day as an opportunity to reflect on the memories and lessons your mother may have imparted. Light a candle, write a letter, or create a small tribute to remember her love and the impact she had on your life.
Volunteer and Give Back: Channel your energy into making a positive difference in honor of your mother’s memory. Volunteer at a local shelter, community center, or organization that supports causes your mother would have cared about. Giving back can be a meaningful way to celebrate her legacy.
Celebrating Mother’s Day with Cats
Homemade Treats: Prepare a special meal or bake cat-themed treats for the cat-loving mother in your life. Consider making tuna-shaped cookies or fish-shaped biscuits for the feline enthusiast. Try myHomemade Organic Chicken Cat Treats
Cat Yoga Session: Arrange a relaxing cat yoga session. Join your favorite cat lover for a yoga practice while allowing your feline companions to roam freely. It’s a unique way to combine mindfulness and feline fun.
Cat-Themed Gifts: Surprise the cat lover with gifts that celebrate their passion. Consider a personalized cat mug, a cozy cat-themed blanket, or a cat-shaped pendant to make the day extra special.
Volunteer at a Shelter: Spend the day volunteering at a local animal shelter or cat rescue organization. Not only will you be giving back to the community, but you’ll also have the opportunity to surround yourself with adorable cats.
Whatever you end up doing, I’d like to say how much I appreciate you. And Odin posed for a nice portrait with a special message.
So here’s to the cat moms so dear,
Whose love for their fur babies is clear.
On this special day,
We send purrs your way,
Happy Mother’s Day,
have a wonderful year!
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