Mothers And Motherhood Celebrated: The History Of Mother’s Day!

To a child’s ear, ‘mother’ is magic in any language. ~ Arlene Benedict ~

The Madonna of the Pinks 1506 by Raphael

Coming up to Mother’s Day, My Mother …My Forever Friend, a tiny book gifted by my son last Mother’s Day, made me think just how important my own mother has been in shaping us, and setting us on our path in life. I started thinking about my son, and the thought of him as a baby in my arms, melts my heart. It was so worth it.

The sweetest affair in our lives is with our mothers. From the moment the precious bundle of joy enters her life till the very end, she stands by her children through everything. She is the one person we can count on.
We argue with our mothers, we fight with them, we pay no heed to what they have to say, but the whole world stands to their Matriarch’s defense even at the smallest suggestion of negativity from someone else. We love her!

But who was the person who came up with this beautiful idea of honoring this special person in our lives, by creating a special day only for her?

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The History of Mother’s Day

Ancient Greece and Rome: Mother’s Day is said to have originated 100 years ago from ancient Greece, where Cybele, the Mother of all Greek gods was honored with a festival.  The ancient Romans are also known to have a similar celebration, Matronalia, a holiday dedicated to Juno, and on this day, mothers were given gifts.

The UK: Mothering Sunday in England was celebrated as early as the 17th century, on the fourth Sunday of Lent, to honor Virgin Mary and one’s own mother.  This day came about as a mark of respect and honor to all those common women who spent all their time working for the upper class in England.  All these servants were given the day off to spend time with their mothers.  The mothers were given a fruit cake or pastry, as a mark of celebration this day.  Children even picked wild flowers along the way to give to their mothers as gifts.

In recent years, Mothering Sunday has taken on the name of Mother’s Day. But the date keeps changing each year, as it is celebrated on the Middle Sunday of Lent.  In 2011, it fell on April 3.

United States: With the Civil War, the United Stated joined in the Mother’s Day celebrations. This credit is given to Julia Ward Howe, a woman who instilled the idea of Mother’s Day, in an attempt to promote peace after all the bloodshed she witnessed during the Civil War.  In 1870, during the International Peace Conference in London and Paris, Julia presented her “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” which was her reaction to the carnage of the American Civil War and was tied to her belief that women are responsible for shaping the societies. By the year 1872, Mother’s Day came to be known as a special day to celebrate peace, motherhood and the ideals of being a woman.  However, this idea was only celebrated for a few years before giving in to the worsening of the Civil War.

A woman named Anna Marie Jarvis took this up all over again with a motive to celebrate her own mother who died, and she managed to convince her mother’s church in Grafton, West Virginia, to create a special day as a mark of honor for all mothers.  Thus Mother’s Day came to be celebrated on the second Sunday of May, the anniversary of the death of Jarvis’ mother. Soon several supporters took this up with the law-makers and achieved the feat of getting Mother’s Day named as a national holiday. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson made Mother’s Day official, and by then it was already being celebrated everywhere in the United States.

In the US and many other countries, the second Sunday in May is celebrated as the Mother’s Day, a day when mothers are honored and made to feel extra special.  In 2011, Mother’s Day is on May 8th.

Commercialization of Mother’s Day

One of the most interesting Mother’s Day history facts tells us that Anna Marie Jarvis, who was responsible for Mother’s Day gaining the status it has today, was not happy after it was all accomplished.  She was said to be shocked at the way the day was being commercialized, with all the cards and other goodies that were sold for this special day.  She had fought hard for six years to make it a special day for her mother and had imagined it as a day of reflection where you remembered and honored your mother and her life.  But when it didn’t turn out that way, she spoke against it and filed a lawsuit but lost her fight. Unfortunately, by the end of her life, this woman had spent several more years and the majority of her finances in trying to get rid of the holiday she helped create in the first place.  By then people were totally into it and nothing was in her hands. Many people are of the opinion that if Mother’s Day was not commercialized, it would have been long forgotten like so many other such days.

Did You Know……

Motherhood is so beautiful that some mothers just need so much more. You will be surprised to know that a Russian peasant woman, whose name is not known, gave birth to 69 children with twins, triplets as well as quadruplets. Just imagine the number of gifts she would have gotten if she were alive today.

The record holder for being the oldest woman to give birth was a woman in her seventies.  Although, we don’t have the exact age as she doesn’t have a birth certificate, this woman named, Omkari Panwar, gave birth through a C-section.

Expressions That Make A Difference

You can express your love to your mother in many ways, but a few written words can bring a beautiful smile on her glowing face.  For her, it’s the thought that matters.

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William Shakespeare was well-known for his wonderful Sonetts and had written 154 in total.  This one is part of Sonnet 3 and is my all-time favorites.  If you wish to check out all his sonnets, they are here.

Thou art thy mother’s glass, and she in thee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime.
~William Shakespeare

Meaning: “You are the mirror of your mother, and she is the mirror of you
And in you she recalls the lovely April of her youth”

The following describe a mother to perfection:

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. ~ Tenneva Jordan

All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother. ~ Abraham Lincoln

Finally, read this heart-rending poem by Rudyard Kipling:

If I were hanged on the highest hill,
Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine
I know whose love would follow me still,
Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!

If I were drowned in the deepest sea,
Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine
I know whose tears would come down to me,
Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!

If I were damned of body and soul,
I know whose prayers would make me whole,
Mother o’ mine, 0 mother o’ mine!

Today, an estimated 82.8 million mothers in the United States and millions more around the world are honored on this special day by their children. Make this day special for your mother too. She deserves it!

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Usha is currently a freelance writer and internet marketer. She has worked as a freelance writer for many years and has been an active internet marketer for six years. Having worked in the health-field for ten years in a senior management position, her interests are varied. She writes on a variety of topics, which include business, management, health, tech and a host of others. She is also the author of an e-book on internet marketing, which will be launched soon. Her future plans include publishing a non-fiction novel.

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