This, That and The Other Stuff

Bob Neuman

She cared for you; unconditionally loved you; protected and worried about you; prayed for you; sacrificed for you; and was proud as she watched you grow. The Lord called her blessed. Though she may have left this earth, on May 8 you will pause to remember and revere her memory.

What is the history of a certain date, this May 8 we call Mother’s Day? As story teller Paul Harvey would say, “Here’s the rest of the story.”

“The modern American holiday of Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1908 when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St. Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia, which now holds the International Mother’s Day Shrine. Her campaign to make Mother’s Day a recognized holiday in the United States began in 1905, the year her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died. Ann Jarvis had been a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the Civil War and created Mother’s Day Work Clubs to address public health issues. Anna Jarvis wanted to honor her mother by continuing the work she started and to set aside a day to honor all mothers, reasoning that they were the poeple who have done more for you that anyone in the world.

“In 1908 the U.S. Congress had rejected a proposal to make Mother’s Day an official holiday, joking that they would have to proclaim also a ‘Mother-in-Law’s Day.’” However, owing to the efforts of Ann Jarvis, in 1911 all U.S. states observed the holiday with some of them officially recognizing Mother’s Day as a local holiday, the first being in West Virginia in 1914. Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother’s Day held on the second Sunday in May as a national holiday to honor mothers through handwritten letters and expressing their love and gratitude instead of buying gifts and pre-made cards. Jarvis protested at a candy makers’ convention in 1923. She became resentful of the commercialization of the holiday. By early 1920s, Hallmark and others had begun selling cards. Jarvis believed the companies had misinterpreted and exploited the idea of Mother’s Day. She organized boycotts and threatened lawsuits against the companies. By this time, carnations had become associated with Mother’s Day and the selling of carnations by the American War Mothers to raise money angered Jarvis, who was then arrested for disturbing the peace.

Canada’s Mother’s Day is the second Sunday in May and typically involves small celebrations and gift giving to one’s mother, grandmother or other important females in the family. A Quebecois tradition is for the men to offer roses or other flowers to the women.

Dia de las Madres is an unofficial holiday in Mexico on May 10 to show affection and appreciation to the mother. Traditionally, the celebration begins with the famous song Las Mananitas, either acapella or with a mariachi or trio.

Many families gather to celebrate the special day, trying to spend as much time as possible with mothers to honor them. They are organized to bring some dishes and eat all together or maybe to visit a restaurant.”

Reference: Wikipedia

Wherever you are, best wishes for a happy Mother’s Day as we reflect on our own special mothers.