Today, April 14, is Mother’s Day in the United States. Its a day to remember and celebrate our Mothers and grandmothers – or any mother in our lives. For some its a day to spend with their loved ones, and some its a day to remember the mothers we have lossed. Its celebrated outside the US as well, on various dates.
The American Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis in the early 1900s. She did it as a way to remember her own mother, who had served as a nurse during the civil War. She wanted a day where people would show their mothers their appreciation, by visiting or writing their mothers letters expressing it. She promoted it, campaigned for it, and saw it become a reality nationally in 1914. She was later against it because it became too commercialized in her opinon. I wrote about this before for last year’s Mother’s Day Post
However, it was not the first time motherhood was celebrated. Even in Ancient times, there were festivals to mother goddesses, and in early Christianity there was Mothering Sunday.
Ann Reeves Jarvis, Anna Jarvis’ mother, actually had a Mother’s Day of her own. It was a group of mothers who would work towards peace as well as help improve things. It fought to improve sanitary conditions, infant mortality rates and tended to wounded during the war. Julia Ward Howe had a “Mother’s Day Proclamation” in 1870 asking mothers to join together to be politically active in the fight for peace. What we consider Mother’s day wasn’t celebrated until 1908 in Virginia and Pennsylvania.
It is celebrated in various countries around the world at different times of the year and in different ways. Some have special days chosen so Mother’s Day is associated with another event. In Thailand, the date of Mother’s Day falls on the birthday of their Queen who is seen as a mother to her citizens. Some countries associate it with Christian celebrations such as Mothering Sunday (a day originally meant to visit your “mother” church) or days that celebrate Mary, the mother of Jesus. In the end, the sentiment behind the holiday is usually the same – to celebrate the women who are our Mothers, or took on the role in some way.
I wish all the mothers out there a happy Mother’s day. Including my own, who like Ann Reeves Jarvis is a nurse and will be taking care of people today.
National Geographic : “Mother’s Day Turns 100”