Knowledge You Might Not Have about Mother’s Day

5/10/2014

Mother’s Day is a celebration observed in honor of all mothers around the world. Although modern day celebration is far removed from the ancient rituals and feasts, its roots go back to the ancient times when people still worship gods and goddesses.


The Greeks had a spring festival which honored Rhea, the wife of Cronus and mother of the gods. She was also the goddess of fertility. The feast was held during spring, symbolizing the beginning of life. In Rome, a similar holiday was observed to give due honor to Cybele, who was a goddess. The revelry lasted for three days.


During the Christian era, this special day was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ. Later, it included all mothers and was named “Mothering Day.” It became so popular in England that children of peasant families working as servants in the homes of noblemen were allowed to go home during the holiday to pay homage to their mothers.  The children brought special cakes and gave them to their mothers as a token of love.


In France and Germany, this special day for mothers was used to encourage married women to have more children. At that time, these countries were threatened by depopulation or the phenomenon of a decreasing population. Women with many children were awarded during a special ceremony. In France, this was the only requirement. In Germany, however, only mothers of pure Aryan blood and approved political and ideological affiliation were recognized and rewarded.


The modern version of “Mother’s Day” was accredited to a woman named Anna Jarvis, the daughter of Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis, who dedicated her life to teaching women about sanitary habits during the Civil War in the 1900s. Anna remained single and spent her time taking care of her mother when she was old. After her mother’s death, she made a plan to set a date for remembering all mothers all over the world and their efforts on playing their roles. Anna noticed how some children had abandoned their mothers and did not express any appreciation for them. She started a campaign, and later President Woodrow Wilson declared the second Sunday of May as Mother’s Day. Carnation was Anna's mother’s favorite flower, so she originated the practice of giving this flower to mothers on Mother’s Day.


Although Ms. Jarvis claimed that she was the founder of this celebration, history showed that there were earlier attempts in America to have mothers officially recognized. In 1872, a writer and poet named Julia Ward Howe suggested that June 2 would be dedicated to Mother’s Day celebration. However, it never flourished. Instead, Jarvis’s "Mother’s Day" became widely accepted. In England, Jarvis inspired a British woman named Constance Smith who revived Mother’s Day in her country. Ms. Smith wrote a book entitled “The Revival of Mothering Sunday” which led to the modern way of commemorating this important event.


Today, it has become a common practice to give mothers gifts and to pamper them on this special day. Children all over the world would make plans long before the second Sunday of May on what to give to their mothers. Traditionally, a typical Mother’s Day would start with the father serving the mother breakfast in bed. The meal includes special croissants intended for the special day. Then, the children would come to the bedroom to greet their mother and offer her gifts. For the whole day, they do all the household chores while their mother is pampered and given a rest. It is sad to note that mothers usually get such attention just in this one day; the next day, they are back to being toiling mothers again, spending most of their time taking care of their husband and children.


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