“Arise, then, women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or of tears! Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.”
-Excerpted and adapted by Ken Sehested, from Julia Ward Howe’s “Appeal to Womanhood Throughout the World,” September 1870
SUNDAY, MAY 12: Give thanks to Mom, Grandma and any maternal figure in your life today on this, the second Sunday of May—it’s Mother’s Day.
The modern observance of Mother’s Day began with Anna Jarvis in 1908, when she collaborated with the founder of Bethany Temple Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. From the beginning, Jarvis specified the day should be “Mother’s Day,” as a singular possessive, so that each person would honor their own mother. Jarvis herself promoted the holiday tirelessly until she caught the attention of President Woodrow Wilson, who made the day an official national holiday in 1914. (Wikipedia has details.) Unfortunately, the day became so commercialized that Jarvis later regretted having established the holiday at all.
Did you know? Mother’s Day yields the highest church attendance after Christmas Eve and Easter. Most churches honor their congregation’s mothers in some way—with a special prayer, perhaps, or in many congregations with a flower.
In search of the perfect gift? Kaboose offers up do-it-yourself ideas for kids, while Mother Nature Network suggests gifts for moms who love gardening. For unique moms, Huffington Post has “weird” gifts, and Fox News suggests gifts that will boost Mom’s health.
Care to care more? The Mother’s Day Movement supports women and girls in the developing world, with the belief that empowered women strongly impact the lives of their children and their communities. Help these women by donating your portion of the $14 billion spent annually on Mother’s Day. This year, the Mother’s Day Movement is focusing on the Fistula Foundation, which aids women who often suffer lifelong isolation resulting from difficulties in childbirth.
Want Mother’s Day By the Numbers? Check out Patch.com.
MOTHER’S DAY: A GREAT (FREE) IDEA & A FUN TV MOVIE
ReadTheSpirit is offering a couple of great ideas:
First, columnist Bobbie Lewis writes about the importance of actually setting aside time to talk to Mom and to listen to her. She calls her story Questions Left Unanswered; Stories Left Untold. Simple. Free. And, a great idea.
Second, ReadTheSpirit recommends a Hallmark movie debut this week, called The Confession, based on a best-selling Amish-themed novel by Beverly Lewis. It’s about a wealthy mother trying to find her long-lost Amish daughter.
MOTHER’S DAY: ORIGINS OF THE HOLIDAY
While the modern observance of Mother’s Day began just a century ago, celebrations for women and mothers have been common throughout history. Greeks worshipped the mother goddess Cybele, while the Romans held the festival of Hilaria; Christians have observed Mothering Sunday for centuries, while Hindus have honored “Mata Tirtha Aunshi,” or “Mother Pilgrimage Fortnight.” The first American attempts for a “Mother’s Day for Peace” arose in the 1870s, when Julia Ward Howe called on mothers to support disarmament in the Civil War and Franco-Prussian War. Several decades later, Anna Jarvis created a holiday that became the Mother’s Day we know today.