The US version of Mother's day reaches 100 today. On 10 May 1908, St Andrews in Grafton West Virginia honoured Anna Jarvis' request and became the first church in the country to hold a Mother's Day service. Anna had held an unofficial day the year before, passing out white carnations to the congregation. Btu the first official service was then.
It grew from there.
In 1909, Mother's day services were held in churches in 46 states, Mexico and Canada.
In 1912, West Virginia became the first state to have an official Mother's Day. And in 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed the bill declaring the second Sunday of May to be Mother's Day. The bill emphasised the role of the mother within the family, rather than her role as an activist in the public arena.
This was all the work of one woman -- Anna Jarvis to honour her mother. And by honouring her mother, she sought to honour all mothers and promote peace. She worked tirelessly to secure the day -- lobbying congress, church leaders, businessmen, anyone with influence and she won.
Unfortunately, the story does not have a happy ending. Anna Jarvis was soon disillusioned with the increasing commercialisation of Mother's Day and denounced it. She opposed the selling of flowers, even though she had started the movement by handing out white carnations. She felt she had created a monster and the day had stopped what she envisioned. Anna never became a mother herself. She died penniless and alone and is buried next to her own mother.
I know that I was guilty of not understanding the how or why Mother's day came about until last year. It is important to remember and to honour Miss Jarvis's efforts.
But I think Anna was wrong to denounce Mother's Day. It is a day that gives many women pleasure and serves to remind us that mothers are vital. It is up to people to decide if they want the commercialisation or if they want to do something homemade and personal. In my view, flowers are always great. Sometimes, a mother just needs to be remembered. And a mother is always a presence in her children's lives. She has influences them and future generations.
And it is worthwhile remembering that Mother's Day
Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers -- past, present and future!