Mother's Day - A Tribute to Moms

Anna Jarvis, The Mother of Mother's Day

“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”  ~ Abraham Lincoln

Our wonderful mothers. The skinned knees they kissed and bandaged up…the soft, tender words of comfort they spoke when we came home from a bad day at school…their nodding head and encouraging smile as they watched us race across the field or perform on stage.

Matriarch. Mother. Mom. The glue that holds the family together.

As it should be, Sunday brings national recognition to Mom with Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day did not start out in the American home with giving cards, candy and flowers to Mom. The holiday actually has roots dating back to the Greeks when they would celebrate spring festivals, honoring Rhea, the mother of many deities. The Romans had their parallel celebration with their great Mother of Gods, Cybele. And of course, Christians the world over celebrated Mary, the mother of Jesus, on the fourth Sunday of Lent.

Here in the US, Mother’s Day actually started almost 150 years ago. An Appalachian homemaker by the name of Anna Jarvis, spearheaded an effort to bring awareness to the poor health conditions in her community. She felt the most effective way to marshal resources and get the effort done was through mothers in the region

When Anna Jarvis died in 1905, her daughter (also named Anna), memorialized her and her work on behalf of mothers through a special recognition campaign. Legend has it that young Anna remembered a Sunday school lesson that her mother gave in which she said, “I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mother’s day. There are many days for men, but none for mothers.”

From there a wave seem to catch on as Anna lobbied and got the attention of prominent business men and even presidents Taft and Roosevelt to support her campaign to create a special day to honor mothers. In 1914 after years of ongoing effort, Anna’s hard work paid off when Woodrow Wilson signed a bill recognizing Mother’s Day as a national holiday on the second Sunday in May.

Interesting facts about Mother’s Day:

  • Anna Jarvis, the founder’s daughter ultimately boycotted the holiday in her last years due the holiday’s growing commercialism.
  • Ironically, Anna Jarvis was never married and never had any children.
  • The carnation is the original Mother’s Day flower.
  • Nearly one quarter of all flowers purchased in the US on a yearly basis are purchased for Mother’s Day.
  • The word for mother in a majority of the world’s languages also happens to begin with the letter ‘M.’
  • In the US alone, 122 million phone calls are made to Mom on her special day.
  • Today, Mother’s Day is celebrated around the world, recognizing these special ladies in our lives. A worthy time to remind us once again that Mothers hold a special, if not wholly unique place in the world, as well as in our hearts.

Where would we be without them?

“Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.” ~Robert Browning

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