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History of Mother’s Day


Written By
LaRubia McDaniel

There are many people who believe that Mother’s Day is a creation of the greeting card industry. However this is far from the truth the celebration of this day goes all the way back to ancient times.

The Egyptians were one of the earliest societies to pay homage to mom with the annual festival celebrated in the name of goddess Isis, mother of Horus the first ruler of a unified Egypt. The Roman Festival of Hilaria was held in honor of Magna Mater (Great mother of the gods). During the celebration Romans brought gifts to the temple for the goddess’ appeasement. The Greeks had a festival honoring Rhea the mother of the gods, sweet honey cakes were eaten and flowers were shared in the midst of wild revelry.

Throughout history society has always found a way to honor Mothers. The New World brought with them Mothering Day in which mom’s received flowers, gifts, and visits from children. Due to the harsh life lead by the pilgrims this secular holiday fell to the wayside. In 1870 Julia Ward Howe author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic called for an International Mother’s Day as an outcry against the death and destruction of the Civil War. This day was dedicated to celebrating peace and motherhood. Julia Ward Howe, the champion of this holiday personally funded many the celebrations but when the funding stopped eventually so did the holiday.

So all of this history brings us to the modern celebration of Mother’s Day. In 1908 Anna M. Jarvis tireless appeal to state and local governments lead President Woodrow Wilson to sign Mother’s day as a national observance to be held every second Sunday in May. Seventy other countries worldwide have adopted the U.S. version of Mother’s Day, celebrating with flowers, gifts or just offering mom a relaxing day free of ordinary tasks. Although the holiday has not been celebrated as Jarvis envisioned as she was against commercialization of the day; we owe the establishment of this day to her. It is true that the post office is a lot busier and the restaurants are packed. Of course the greeting cards seem to fly off the shelves, but nothing beats the homemade cards from our children or the handmade clay bowls shaped like a 5 year olds hand.

As for me this year there will no restaurant dinners, gifts, or family gatherings as my mom is under the weather and has been hospitalized the better part of a week. So I will say the best Mother’s Day gift that I can give or receive is to be here at her bedside. …


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