Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Real Story of Mother's Day

I love stories of strong women that made history. I also like bringing them to other people's attention. Hey they deserve it! In honor of Mother's Day here is the story of Mother's Day.

Way way way back in the day
As far as I know (which isn't all that far) the 1600's is the first time people officially got together to celebrate a Mother's Day. It was in England and it was called Mothering Day. It was a big deal because the working class was given that Sunday off to go visit their families in what ever town they came from.
The often unseen children would take a break from lent to feast with their mom's and shower her with gifts like flowers and cake. Goes to show somethings never change. 

The American mother's day

This is where the strong women stuff comes in. When the British settled in America they stopped celebrating the traditional mothering day. They were busy and didn't really care to celebrate women. 
The Mother's day we are familiar with today started as a mother's prayer. This mother. Anna Reeves Jarvis.

She worked giving medical aid to both sides in the civil war. She worked for universal health care for the poor. This was an awesome woman way a head of her time. 
Her young daughter Anna M. Jarvis heard her mother praying for a day to celebrate the hard work and dedication of mothers. 
After her mother's death she quit her job to make her mother's dream come true with an all most endless string of petitions. This was before the internet so petitions were a hell of a lot of work. In 1912 Virginia became the first state to officially recognize Mother's day.   In 1914 Woodrow Wilson named the second Sunday in May Mother's day! Yay! Wahoo!

She named the white carnation the flower of Mother's Day because it was her mom's favorite flower. Also "It’s one of the few flowers that when it dies it doesn’t drop its petals. So it’s the idea of this lasting mother love. That you still feel it long after your mother is gone.”. 
To top it off it was reasonably priced and readily available. 

Where The Story Gets Sad

Florist soon started taking advantage of this and charging more for them. Soon after that candy and card makers got in on it and soon Mother's day was big money business. 
Seeing her loving memorial to her mother turned into a cash cow for heartless companies she copy righted the phrases "Mother's day" and "second Sunday in May" (not sure how that works) to keep companies from profiting on what she saw as her holiday. She spent not only the rest of her fortune but the rest of her life trying to preserve the honor in Mother's day. 
"A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment."

—Anna Jarvis

Where it gets really sad 

She eventually died blind, broke, and defeated in a mental institution in Philadelphia. 

So try to keep in mind what the day is really about. And pay some respect to the Mothers of Mother's day. 

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