I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mother’s day. There are many days for men, but none for mothers.—Anna Jarvis, Sunday school teacher
Mother’s Day celebrations date back as far as the Ancient Greeks and Romans, and in some form or another it was also celebrated among Christians and Europeans. But, it wasn’t until 150 years ago that Mother’s Day was celebrated regularly in the United States.
It was originally called “Women’s Work Day.” That sounds like the opposite of Mother’s Day as we know it, but homemaker Anna Jarvis organized a day to raise awareness of poor health conditions in her community. She believed this was best advocated by mothers.
During the Civil War, Julia Ward Howe organized a day encouraging mothers to rally for peace, since she believed they bore the loss of human life more harshly than anyone else. Howe worked for years for Women’s suffrage and human rights, and was instrumental in creating Mother’s Day. She recognized the need for women from all over the world to come together to discuss world peace, and the importance of protecting children.
The first Mother’s Days were celebrated by attending church, writing letters to mom, maybe bringing her some flowers. But this eventually grew into gift-giving, which enraged Jarvis. She realized that the day’s sentiment was being lost to greed and profit. She actually filed a lawsuit to stop one Mothers Day festival in 1923! She was also arrested for disturbing the peace at a war mother’s group convention, because she didn’t agree with what they were doing.
Before she died in 1948, Jarvis is said to have confessed that she regretted ever starting the mother’s day tradition.
This is funny to me because this is exactly a mother’s story. As a mother of two young children I don’t want gifts, what I want is time away from motherhood! This may sound harsh but it’s the truth. I usually like to spend the day getting my hair done, or taking a day trip with my husband.
And then having dinner ALONE!
No offense to my kids—I love them both dearly. But everyone needs a break once in a while. (I wonder what Anna would think of how I wish to spend my day?!)