As with most things in this world Mother’s Day also has a history. It just didn’t begin to be celebrated one fine day. Its roots can be traced as far back as to ancient Greece and Rome. A day like this was also celebrated in the U.K. before it came to the U.S. In the U.K. it was known as Mothering Sunday. Today this special day now known as Mother’s Day is celebrated in 46 countries except on different dates. The most important thing is that people honor their moms and make them feel extra special.
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Cronus and Rhea
Looking back through the ages it is known that the ancient Greeks had an annual spring festival which was dedicated to maternal goddesses. They honored Rhea, wife of Cronus, and the mother of many deities in Greek mythology.
The ancient Romans also had a spring festival which was called Hilaria. This was dedicated to Cybele, a mother goddess. The celebration began on the Ides of March when offerings were made in the temple of Cybele. The festivities lasted three days and there were parades, games, and masquerades.
Early Christians had a similar day on the fourth Sunday of Lent when they honored the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ. This celebration was later expanded in England to include all mothers and became known as Mothering Sunday. It dates back to the 1600s when after prayer services in church to honor the Virgin Mary, children brought flowers and gifts home to pay tribute to their own moms. However, this kind of celebration had almost completely ended by the 19th century.
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The idea of making Mother’s Day official in the U.S. was first made by Julia Ward Howe in 1872. She was an activist, a writer and a poet and the writer of the famous Civil War song, “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” She made the suggestion that Mother’s Day should be celebrated on June 2nd. She felt that this day should be dedicated to peace and made an appeal to all women in her famous Mothers Day Proclamation. Even though her idea spread it was eventually replaced by the Mother’s Day holiday we celebrate now in May.
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The actual founder of Mother’s Day in the U.S. is Anna Jarvis. Even though she never married and had no children she is still known as the Mother of Mother’s Day. The idea came from her own mother who had the desire for people to honor mothers whether living or dead. Anna did not forget what her mother wanted. When her mother passed away in 1905 she began to campaign.
First of all, she sent carnations which were her mother’s favorite flowers in a church service in West Virginia to honor her mom. Then she and her supporters wrote letters to people in administrative positions to make Mother’s Day official. Finally, in 1911 practically every state in the U.S. celebrated Mother’s Day and on May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a Joint resolution making it official that Mother’s Day was to be celebrated each year on the second Sunday in May.
Mother’s Day has become very commercialized and has lost its deepest meaning somewhere along the way. Of course, the most important thing is to honor and love your mom however the most special thing you can give her is your undying love. Perhaps now is the time to remember that moms would appreciate hand-made gifts, homemade meals, flowers picked in the wild and lots and lots of hugs and kisses much more than all the store-bought goods you could buy them. Children who cannot purchase gifts should be shown how to create home-made Mother’s Day cards if they haven’t already made them at school.
So Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. You are loved and treasured and on this day you should consider yourselves the reigning queens because you really deserve it.
A picture of mom I miss her more with each passing Mother’s Day