Spoiler alert-cynical me talking…not sure if you have seen this side of me yet.
This is my official obligatory Mother’s Day post. Here’s the thing, though. I don’t believe in Mother’s Day, which is not to say I don’t believe in its existence. It’s just that it falls under the category of holidays that I unaffectionately refer to as Hallmark Holidays. They include Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day too. These are holidays that have become completely commercialized and nothing more than ways for businesses to make you part with your money. And it’s not to say that I think mother’s shouldn’t be honored-we should, but we should far more frequently than once a year, and not because Madison Avenue says we should. I don’t feel honored by getting overly marked up flowers or genuine 1/4 carat diamond earrings or a mediocre brunch in an overly crowded restaurant. (My husband wants me to point out that I have never actually received any of these things and have, in fact, received some lovely gifts in past years and truth be told, we do celebrate it in our house, but that is because it is important to my children. Also, as a matter-of-fact, one year I made a beautiful Mother’s Day afternoon tea complete with 2 different types of scones, 2 different quiches and finger sandwiches, all homemade, for the whole extended family and was so exhausted from it all, that I swore I would never do that again.)
Here is a little history on Mother’s Day: (if, for some reason, you don’t want to or don’t have time to read the history, feel free to skip down to the purple/red section, but you really should read the history.)
History of Mother’s Day: Julia Ward Howe
The idea of official celebration of Mothers day in US was first suggested by Julia Ward Howe in 1872. An activist, writer and poet, Julia shot to fame with her famous Civil War song, “Battle Hymn of the Republic”. Julia Ward Howe suggested that June 2 be annually celebrated as Mothers Day and should be dedicated to peace. She wrote a passionate appeal to women and urged them to rise against war in her famous Mothers’ Day Proclamation, written in Boston in 1870. She also initiated a Mothers’ Peace Day observance on the second Sunday in June in Boston and held the meeting for a number of years. Julia tirelessly championed the cause of official celebration of Mothers’ Day and declaration of official holiday on the day. Her idea spread but was later replaced by the Mothers’ Day holiday now celebrated in May.
History of Mother’s Day: Anna Jarvis
Anna Jarvis is recognized as the Founder of Mothers’ Day in US. Though Anna Jarvis never married and never had kids, she is also known as the Mother of Mothers Day, an apt title for the lady who worked hard to bestow honor on all mothers.
Anna Jarvis got the inspiration of celebrating Mothers Day from her own mother Mrs. Anna Marie Reeves Jarvis in her childhood. An activist and social worker, Mrs. Jarvis used to express her desire that someday someone must honor all mothers, living and dead, and pay tribute to the contributions made by them.
A loving daughter, Anna never forgot her mother’s word and when her mother died in 1905, she resolved to fulfill her mother’s desire of having a mothers’ day. Growing negligent attitude of adult Americans towards their mothers and a desire to honor her mother soared her ambitions.
To begin with Anna, send Carnations in the church service in Grafton, West Virginia to honor her mother. Carnations were her mothers favorite flower and Anna felt that they symbolised a mothers pure love. Later Anna along with her supporters wrote letters to people in positions of power lobbying for the official declaration of Mothers Day holiday. The hard work paid off. By 1911, Mother’s Day was celebrated in almost every state in the Union and on May 8, 1914 President Woodrow Wilson signed a Joint Resolution designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
History of Mother’s Day: Present Day Celebrations
There is a tradition of gifting flowers, cards and others gift to mothers on the Mothers Day. The festival has become commercialised to a great extent. Florists, card manufacturers and gift sellers see huge business potential in the day and make good money through a rigorous advertising campaign.
It is unfortunate to note that Ms Anna Jarvis, who devoted her life for the declaration of Mothers Day holiday was deeply hurt to note the huge commercialisation of the day.
As with most holidays, Mother’s Day has become as far removed from its original inception as chihauhuas have from wolves. Most people could not tell you why Mother’s Day began. So in light of the current economic conditions in this world, and in light of the recent 6th anniversary of “mission accomplished,” I propose we honor the origins of Mother’s Day and send out our thoughts that by next Mother’s Day, the mother’s, wives, children, spouses of our troops, have their loved ones home with them to simply celebrate the day and every day.
Mothers’ Day Proclamation
Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be of water or of tears! Say firmly: “We will not have questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience. We women of one country will be too tender to those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own. It says “Disarm! Disarm!” The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.
As men have forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after his time the sacred impress not of Caesar, but of God.
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.
Julia Ward Howe, Boston 1870
peace and happy mother’s day