Friday, April 3, 2009

History of Mothers Day

Mothers have been celebrated and thanked in festivals since the time of ancient Greeks and Romans. Then, it was a celebration in springtime, when the earth was renewed by blooming flowers and budding trees. The mother goddess was thanked for providing crops and the fertile ground on which they were grown upon during lengthy festivals and ceremonies. Women, who personally embodied the goddess energy and spirit, were centered in these celebrations.

Much later, during the beginning centuries of Christianity, the celebration of mothers took a different meaning. While still honoring mothers, the festivities took on a much more somber and pious context. Early Christians had replaced the pagans' celebrations for the earth goddesses with a celebration honoring the Virgin Mary and her mothering of Jesus Christ.

The British continued the Christian tradition of honoring their mums, with their own holiday, Mothering Day. Celebrated in the forth Sunday of Lent, Mothering Day was held to honor moms. It was a day on which laborers were given a day away from their seven days a week duties to go home and spend the day with their families. Most honored the day by bringing their mom's small Mothering Day cakes. With the settling of America, most of the British discontinued their observation of Mothering Day.

Mother's Day did not become an official American holiday until 1914. President Woodrow Wilson declared the second Sunday of May to be known as Mothers Day for the entire nation. There is much debate, however, of where the American origins started and who deserves credit for the holiday being recognized.

There are several groups who should be credited with their efforts in establishing a national day for mothers. Julia Ward Howe, an American Civil War activist, attended several international peace conferences to institute a "mothers day of peace" after witnessing the carnage of the Franco-Prussian War in the 1870's and American Civil War in the 1860's. Howe instituted the Mothers' Peace Day in Boston, Massachusetts, which was to be celebrated annually on the second Sunday in June for a minimum of ten years, as a means to unite women against war. Her efforts were the start of a push for a national holiday.

A lot of Howe's efforts were built upon the work already completed by Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis, a woman in the Appalachians who, in 1858, began to call attention to the need for improved sanitation through the implementation of a "Mothers Friendship Day". After the Civil War, she taught local women nursing basics and proper sanitation, thereby improving the lives of thousands.

Jarvis' daughter, Anna Jarvis, was the woman who successfully accomplished having a national holiday for mom. After the death of her mother in 1905, Anna started her campaign to start the holiday. On May 10, 1908, the first official observation of Mothers Day occurred during a church service in the Andrew's Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. After this, the popularity of the yearly event grew across the country until it became a national holiday on May 9, 1914.

The first Mother's Day was celebrated by the giving of carnations, during a church service, to moms. White carnations were given for living mommies and red carnations were given in memory of those who had passed. Since then, mothers day gift have expanded to jewelry, candy, candles, and flowers. Mothers Day is now celebrated all across the world.

Hollie Rougeaux Souza, owner and jewelry designer for, a Jewelery and Accessories Boutique for Baby, Child, and Adult. Specializing in baby name bracelets, mother jewelry, hand-fired and engraved 99.9% pure silver pendants and charms, sterling silver, Swarovski and Czech crystal jewelry, 14kt gold accent jewelry, personalized jewelry, and custom items.

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