National Holiday: Honor Mom for Mother’s Day

SUNDAY, MAY 8: Honor Mom today, the way creator Anna Jarvis intended—with a personal Mother’s Day letter, homemade gift or home-cooked meal! Today is Mother’s Day, and its history is quite unusual, indeed: The same woman who created the day, in honor of her own mother, was arrested years later for publicly protesting its commercialization!

Here are lots of terrific Mother’s Day stories!

Does that Global Choices headline, above, sound provocative? Well, provocative critiques of American life actually are a traditional part of this observance! Anna Jarvis was a tireless activist on behalf of America’s downtrodden. When she became embittered by the commercialization of her holiday, she declared: “A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world.” Ouch!

The early stirrings of the holiday came from mothers horrified by the loss of life in the Civil War. In 1870, Julia Ward Howe published the strongly worded “Mother’s Day Proclamation” in response to the massive bloodshed in the war between the states. (Here’s an OurValues column this week about Ward’s proclamation.)

The first “official” Mother’s Day service was in 1908 at a Methodist Episcopal church in West Virginia. Church services for mothers remain a popular part of today’s events, and many also include the original ritual of distributing carnations among Church members who are mothers.

Looking for some help? Mother’s Day Central has ideas for poems, gifts, recipes and more. For kids, Kaboose has fun suggestions.

Originally published at, an online journal covering religion and cultural diversity.

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