Mother's Day means many things to many people. It's a celebration of spring, of family, and of togetherness. It's a time to remember how much we mean to each other, and to fuss over our mothers. If we are mothers, we can look forward to some pampering!
Mother's Day has been celebrated in the United States since early in the last century. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed it a national holiday to be held every year on the second Sunday in May.
Mother's Days of the Past
Long before our own Mother's Day was named, mothers have been memorialized. The ancient Greeks honored Rhea, mother of the gods, on a special day. The Romans honored Cybele, their own mother of the Roman gods.
Later, Christians named the fourth Sunday of Lent as a day to honor Mary, the mother of Jesus. By the 19th Century, the English had transformed that day into Mothering Sunday and declared it a holiday for servants to visit their mothers, freshly baked cakes in hand.
Mother's Day in the U.S.
Julia Ward Howe is credited with first suggesting a day to honor American mothers and to celebrate peace in 1872. Howe, who wrote the words for the Battle Hymn of the Republic, organized annual Mother's Day meetings in Boston.
In 1907, Anna Jarvis urged her mother's church in Grafton, West Virginia, to remember her mother on the second Sunday in May, which was the second anniversary of her death. During her life, Jarvis's mother had campaigned to raise awareness of poor health conditions in rural West Virginia communities, and Jarvis wanted to honor this memory.
Jarvis transported the celebration to her own church in Philadelphia. She then began years of lobbying local and national politicians to formalize the day. She met with Presidents Taft and Roosevelt and finally in 1913, the House of Representatives adopted a resolution calling for federal government officials to wear white carnations in honor of mothers on the second Sunday in May.
President Wilson made it official in 1914.
Mother's Day in the 21st Century
Today, greeting card companies, florists, candy shops, and restaurants look forward to Mother's Day. It is one of the busiest days for telephone companies.
It is also a lovely day for mothers, who indulge in lovingly prepared breakfasts in bed -- and hand-picked bouquets of dandelions and daisies!