Monday, March 19, 2007

More on Mother's Day

My sister emailed to say -- that it wasn't quite true about the US Mother's Day being started by card companies, and she gave me a wikipedia article which claimed that Mother's Day was started after a campaign by Julia Ward Howe in her magazine.

Now after the kerfuffle at Wikipedia about their entries, including one of their major contributors resigning, I did some more checking, particularily as I didn't like the Roman and Greek explanation. I am not going into the whole celbrations of Cybele -- except to say they were sometimes not very pleasant. Andtherefore article did not ring true for me. And there was no explantion as to why the 2nd Sunday in May was chosen. I couldn't be bothered to check my Roman calender of festivals but somehow, I am pretty sure a day honouring mothers was not around that day.

Anyway, it was fairly easy to discover and wikipedia did not tell the full story.

Julia Ward Howe who also wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic did advocate a Mother's Day, BUT it did not really get started until 1914 in West Virginia when Anna Jarvis organised a day of remembrance. The second Sunday in May was chosen as it was the second anniversary of her own mother's death. A white carnation signified a deceased mother and a red one, a living one. The idea was enthusiastically adopted by the West Virginia legislature and from there spread to other states. In later years, Anna Jarvis denounced the whole enterprise for becoming far too commercial. You can read the story here. West Virginia is very proud to be the founding state of Mother's day.

It is an interesting problem in this day and age -- how do you stop things from becoming commercialized, particularly when they have proved as popular as Mother's day. But at least I now know why it is the second Sunday in May... and it does have a very different meaning than the British one.

Are all mothers inherently peaceful? Or are they more willing to protect their children at all costs? I am not sure of the answer. But the US Mother's Day was started because Anna Jarvis and many others believed in peace and of course their mother.

1 comment:

Cole Reising said...

Huh, interesting... I've always maintained it was the card companies... :)