History Of Mothers Day, Origin Of Mothers Day, Mothering Sunday, United States Mothers Day, Mothers Peace Day, Anna Jarvis (Jarvis Daughter), Observance of Mothers Day, Mothering Sunday / Mid-Lent-Sunday
- 1 History of Mothers Day Origin
- 2 Mothers Day History
- 3 United States Mothers Day
- 4 Mothers Peace Day
- 5 Anna Jarvis ( Jarvis Daughter)
- 6 Anna Jarvis Mothers Death
- 7 Anna Jarvis Efforts
- 8 Souvenir of Mothers Day
- 9 Mothers Day International Association
- 10 First Official Mothers Day
- 11 Observance of Mothers Day
- 12 Mothers Day Celebration
- 13 National Observance of Mothers Day
- 14 Mothering Sunday / Mid-Lent-Sunday
- 15 John Brandt Mothers Day Theory
- 16 Carnations A Floral Emblem of Mother Love
History of Mothers Day Origin
Mothers Day is special to all of us, isn’t it? All of us look forward to this day to let our mummy dear know how special she is to us. But do you know the roots of Mothers Day – just how this day came into existence; when was it first observed or who celebrated it first?
Do you have any idea how little things like carnations got associated with this splendid occasion, or how the modern Mothers Day celebrations are related with the old tradition of “Mothering Sunday”? Are you aware who composed the first Mothers Day proclamation? If you are not, go down and check out the links given below. You are sure to enjoy them too.
Mothers Day History
The history of Mothers Day is centuries old and the earliest Mothers Day celebrations can be traced back to the spring celebrations of ancient Greece in honor of Rhea, the Mother of the Gods. During the 1600’s, the early Christians in England celebrated a day to honor Mary, the mother of Christ. Mothers Day Origin
By a religious order the holiday was later expanded in its scope to include all mothers, and named as the Mothering Sunday. Celebrated on the 4th Sunday of Lent (the 40 day period leading up to Easter), “Mothering Sunday” honored the mothers of England. History Of Mothers Day.
During this time many of the England’s poor worked as servants for the wealthy. As most jobs were located far from their homes, the servants would live at the houses of their employers. On Mothering Sunday, the servants would have the day off and were encouraged to return home and spend the day with their mothers. A special cake, called the mothering cake, was often brought along to provide a festive touch. History Of Mothers Day
As Christianity spread throughout Europe the celebration changed to honor the “Mother Church” – the spiritual power that gave them life and protected them from harm. Over time the church festival blended with the Mothering Sunday celebration . People began honoring their mothers as well as the church. History Of Mothers Day
With the passage of time, the practice of this fantastic tradition ceased slowly. The English colonists settled in America discontinued the tradition of Mothering Sunday because of lack of time. History Of Mothers Day
United States Mothers Day
In the United States, Mothers Day was loosely inspired by the British day and was first suggested after the American Civil War by social activist Julia Ward Howe. Howe (who wrote the words to the Battle hymn of the Republic) was horrified by the carnage of the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War and so, in 1870, she tried to issue a manifesto for peace at international peace conferences in London and Paris (it was much like the later Mothers Day Peace Proclamation). History Of Mothers Day
During the Franco-Prussian war in the 1870s, Julia began a one-woman peace crusade and made an impassioned “appeal to womanhood” to rise against war. She composed in Boston a powerful plea that same year (generally considered to be the original Mothers’ Day proclamation*) translated it into several languages and distributed it widely. In 1872, she went to London to promote an international Woman’s Peace Congress. She began promoting the idea of a “Mothers Day for Peace” to be celebrated on June 2, honoring peace, motherhood and womanhood. Mothers Day Origin
In the Boston Mass, she initiated a Mothers’ Peace Day observance on the second Sunday in June, a practice that was to be established as an annual event and practiced for at least 10 years. The day was, however, mainly intended as a call to unite women against war. It was due to her efforts that in 1873, women in 18 cities in America held a Mothers Day for Pace gathering. Howe rigorously championed the cause of official celebration of Mothers Day and declaration of official holiday on the day. History Of Mothers Day
Mothers Peace Day
She held meetings every year at Boston on Mothers Peace Day and took care that the day was well-observed. The celebrations died out when she turned her efforts to working for peace and women’s rights in other ways. Howe failed in her attempt to get the formal recognition of a Mothers Day for Peace. Mothers Day Origin
Her remarkable contribution in the establishment of Mothers Day, however, remains in the fact that she organized a Mothers Day dedicated to peace. It is a landmark in the history of Mothers Day in the sense that this was to be the precursor to the modern Mothers Day celebrations. To acknowledge Howe’s achievements a stamp was issued in her honor in 1988. Mothers Day Origin
It should be well to remember that Howe’s idea was influenced by Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker who, starting in 1858, had attempted to improve sanitation through what she called “Mothers Friendship Day”. In the 1900’s, at a time when most women devoted their time solely on their family and homes, Jarvis was working to assist in the healing of the nation after the Civil War.
She organized women throughout the Civil War to work for better sanitary conditions for both sides and in 1868 she began work to reconcile Union and Confederate neighbors. Ann was instrumental in saving thousands of lives by teaching women in her Mothers Friendship Clubs the basics of nursing and sanitation which she had learned from her famous physician brother James Reeves, M.D. In parts of the United States it was customary to plant tomatoes outdoors after Mothers Work Days (and not before). Mothers Day Origin
Anna Jarvis ( Jarvis Daughter)
It was Jarvis’ daughter, Anna Jarvis, who finally succeeded in introducing Mothers Day in the sense as we celebrate it today. Anna graduated from the Female Seminary in Wheeling and taught in Grafton for a while. Later she moved to Philadelphia with her family. Anna had spent many years looking after her ailing mother. This is why she preferred to remain a spinster.
Anna Jarvis Mothers Death
When her mother died in Philadelphia on May 9, 1905, Anna missed her greatly. So did her sister Elsinore whom she looked after as well. Anna felt children often neglected to appreciate their mother enough while the mother was still alive. Now, she intended to start a Mothers Day, as an honoring of the mothers. In 1907, two years after her Mothers death, Anna Jarvis disclosed her intention to her friends who supported her cause wholeheartedly. Mothers Day Origin
So supported by her friends, Anna decided to dedicate her life to her Mothers cause and to establish Mothers Day to “honor mothers, living and dead.” She started the campaign to establish a national Mothers Day. With her friends, she started a letter-writing campaign to urge ministers, businessmen and congressmen in declaring a national Mothers Day holiday. She hoped Mothers Day would increase respect for parents and strengthen family bonds. Mothers Day Origin
Anna Jarvis Efforts
As a result of her efforts the first Mothers day was observed on May 10, 1908, by a church service honoring Late Mrs. Reese Jarvis, in the Andrews Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia, where she spent 20 years taking Sunday school classes. Grafton is the home to the International Mothers Day Shrine.
Another service was also conducted on the same date in Philadelphia where Mrs. Jarvis died, leaving her two daughters Anna and Elsinore. So it was more of a homage service for Mrs. Reeves Jarvis than a general one conducted in honor of motherhood. Nevertheless, this set the stage for the later Mothers Day observances held in the honor of motherhood. Mothers Day Origin
Following this, it gained a widespread popularity across the nation. The Mothers Day International Association came into being on December 12, 1912, to promote and encourage meaningful observances of the event. Anna’s dream came true when on May 9, 1914, the Presidential proclamation declared the 2nd Sunday of May to be observed as Mothers Day to honor the mothers.
Souvenir of Mothers Day
It was here in the first observance that the carnations were introduced by Miss Jarvis. Large jars of white carnations were set about the platform where the service was conducted. At the end of the exercise one of these white carnations was given to each person present as a souvenir of Mothers Day. All this was done because the late elder Jarvis was fond of carnations. Mothering Sunday
From there, the custom caught on — spreading eventually to 45 states. The first Mothers Day proclamation was issued by the governor of West Virginia in 1910. Oklahoma celebrated it in that same year. It stirred the same way in as far west as the state of Washington. And by 1911 there was not a state in the Union that did not have its own observances for Mothers Day. Soon it crossed the national boundary, as people in Mexico, Canada, South America, China, Japan and Africa all joined the spree to celebrate a day for mother love. Mothering Sunday
Mothers Day International Association
The Mothers Day International Association came into being on December 12, 1912, to promote and encourage meaningful observances of the event. Starting from 1912, Mothers day began to be officially declared a holiday by some states. Anna’s dream came true when in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson declared the first national Mothers Day, as a day for American citizens to show the flag in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war.
The House of Representatives in May 1913 unanimously adopted a resolution requesting the President, his cabinet, the members of both Houses and all officials of the federal government to wear a white carnation on Mothers Day. On May 7,1914, a resolution providing that the second Sunday in May be designated Mothers Day was introduced by Representative James T. Mothering Sunday
Heflin of Alabama and Senator Morris Sheppard of Texas. It passed both Houses and on May 9, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson made the first official announcement proclaiming Mothers Day as a national holiday that was to be held each year on the 2nd Sunday of May. He asked Americans to give a public expression of reverence to mothers through the celebration of Mothers Day: Mothering Sunday
“Now, Therefore, I, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the said Joint Resolution, do hereby direct the government officials to display the United States flag on all government buildings and do invite the people of the United States to display the flag at their homes or other suitable places on the second Sunday in May as a public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.” Mothering Sunday
And issuing a Mothers day Proclamation has since then been a convention.
First Official Mothers Day
Nine years after the first official Mothers Day, commercialization of the U.S. holiday became so rampant that Anna Jarvis herself became a major opponent of what the holiday had become. While honored for her part in the growth of the holiday, Anna Jarvis’ last life was miserable.
As the observance of Mothers Day enjoyed increasing popularity, new dimensions came to be added to it. This made Anna Jarvis disillusioned with her own creation. Though the original spirit of honoring the mothers remained the same, what began as a religious service expanded quickly into a more secular observance leading to giving of flowers, cards, and gifts. And Anna Jarvis was unable to cope with this changing mode of expression.
In 1934 Postmaster General James A. Farley announced a stamp to commemorate Mothers Day. The stamp featured the famous painting “Arrangement in Grey and Black”. The painting was a portrait of the mother of James Abbott McNeill Whistler, an English artist. It was brought in to the United States as part of an exhibit in the year 1934.
Mothers Day continues to this day to be one of the most commercially successful U.S. occasions. According to the National Restaurant Association, Mothers Day is now the most popular day of the year to dine out at a restaurant in the United States. The occasion is now celebrated not so much with flags as with gifts, cards, hugs, thank yous and other tokens of affection.
While many countries of the world celebrate their own Mothers Day on different days and at different times throughout the year, there are some countries such as Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Australia, and Belgium which also celebrate Mothers Day on the second Sunday of May. In some countries, the appreciation lasts for two days.
Today, Mothers Day is a day honoring mothers, celebrated on various days in many places around the world. It is the day when you acknowledge your mothers contribution in your life and pay a tribute to her, often with flowers and gifts. It complements Father’s Day, the celebration honoring fathers.
Observance of Mothers Day
“It is true that Miss Jarvis’ efforts can truly be credited with the magnitude of the present general celebration of Mothers Day. But many years before 1907, a Henderson woman endeavored with all the power of her being to bring about the observance of Mothers Day. History Of Mothers Day
In the 1920s and into the 1930s a very bitter battle was being fought on proving who founded Mothers Day. Jarvis would not concede to the fact that others had done works before her. Jarvis contended that Sasseen and Henderson, Kentucky had nothing to do with her “Mothers Day Inc.” Which is very true. History Of Mothers Day
Mary Towles Sasseen or Henderson, Kentucky did not and do not take claim of Jarvis’ Mothers Day International Association, Inc.” Her organization and all that she did to make a day for honoring mothers a national holiday is to be commended. However, she was not the first to recommend and spend her entire life for a Mothers Day observation. History Of Mothers Day
I have the distinct honor and privilege to introduce our very own MARY TOWLES SASSEEN.
Miss Mary Towles Sasseen was born on March 5, 1860 and was reared in Henderson, Kentucky. She was a teacher in our own public schools, labored earnestly to have April 20th, her Mothers natal day, observed in the schools in the manner in which we now celebrate. History Of Mothers Day
Mary also known as Mamie Sasseen was quite tall, had auburn hair and one of the brightest faces, and the wittiest tongue Julia Alves Clore had ever known. One of her chief charms was her happy-go-lucky spirit. Always smiling where the occasion demanded, but very firm and dignified. Quick at repartee, sharp of wit, she was always able to hold her own with the most intelligent. She was noted for that famous smile, and her advice was, “Say what you’d like to say, just so you say it with a smile.” History Of Mothers Day
September 1885, Julia Alves Clore began teaching at Center Street School, where Mary Towles Sassen was the principal of the primary department. Even then she wrote stories and poems for pupils to recite on April 20th, her Mothers birthday, calling it “Mothers Day Celebration”, inviting the mothers of the pupils to be present at that very time. She was constantly talking and working for this scheme, often expressing the wish that she might live to see it a national observance.
In 1888, John C. Worsham, a practicing attorney since 1905, attended the public schools in Henderson and during said time he was a pupil of Miss Sasseen and he often heard Miss Sasseen speak of the efforts she was making to obtain national recognition of the mothers of this country by the setting aside of a certain day to be observed and celebrated as Mothers Day, and that the day she was endeavoring to have selected as Mothers Day was the birthday of her mother, April 20th.
Mothers Day Celebration
Being unable to find anything suitable, Sasseen published her “Mothers Day Celebration” pamphlet in 1893. Within this book Sasseen defines Mothers Day as follows:
Having by experience learned how much one can teach a child regarding the lives and works of the poets, by our system of Author’s Day, it suggested itself to me that by celebrating Mothers Day once a year, much of the veneration, love and respect due to parents might, by song, verse and story, be inculcated in the next generation.
By a Mothers Day, I mean a day on which parents shall be invited to the school and a programme presented, the recitations being on the subject of mother, the songs referring to home.
In this pamphlet, Sasseen refers to “Home as the magic circle within which the weary spirit finds refuge; the sacred asylum to which the care-worn heart retreats to find rest. Home! That name touches every fiber of the soul. Nothing but death can break its spell, and dearer than home is the mother who presides over it.”
She further states that “We find that every man and woman, whom the world has called great, whose words have been treasured for their wisdom and goodness, all cherished their memories of mother, of happy, innocent childhood and of home.”
Sasseen felt that her “pamphlet was sent forth in the hope of awakening on the part of the child, a deeper appreciation of her, who is the central figure of the home. That it may strengthen the family bonds, making them more beautiful and tender, that it may breathe a hope of that future, where language is music, thought is light, and love is law.”
Sasseen traveled extensively and addressed various educational meetings over the country in her effort to have Mothers Day observed in the schools. In 1894 or shortly thereafter, she succeeded in having it celebrated of the Public Schools of Springfield, Ohio.
C. E. Sugg had personal recollections of Miss Sasseen’s advocacy of “Mothers Day” as far back as 1897 because he was Miss Sasseen’s opposing candidate for the office of County School Superintendent.
May 6, 1899, the Saturday Morning Gleaner ran a campaign advertisement for Mary Towles Sasseen’s candidacy for Superintendent of Public Instruction. The ad ran as follows:
Miss Mary Towles Sasseen, of Henderson, Kentucky, who is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Superintendent of Public Instruction, adds a new feature to State politics this year. Miss Sasseen has made a practical study, in the school systems of New York, Ohio, Indiana and Colorado, all leaders in educational matters. She is the author and originator of Mothers Day.
Within the past five years she has, unaided, secured the adoption of the day in a large number of States, and cities like Boston, Brooklyn and Little Rock have had from 10,000 to 14,000 pupils in line, singing songs of home and reciting poems in honor of mother. The effect on character must be for good and does credit both to the heart and head of the originator.
For many years Sasseen taught in the Center Street School but was forced to give up teaching on the account of ill health in the early 1900s. However, she did not give up her quest for Mothers Day as she continued to travel extensively and addressed educational societies and other organizations in various parts of the country in her effort to have the observance of Mothers Day nationally recognized and adopted.
On September 28, 1904 Mary Towles Sasseen married Judge William Marshall Wilson from Pensacola, Florida. Being such a devoted teacher and daughter, a cruel twist of fate occurred on April 18, 1906, when Sasseen died in childbirth.
National Observance of Mothers Day
A year later in 1907 was when Miss Anna Jarvis invited a friend to spend the second Sunday in May with her to commemorate the anniversary of her Mothers death. On that occasion Jarvis announced her plan for the national observance of Mothers Day.
I commend Jarvis for observing the day with fitting memorial services in churches and homes in Philadelphia. For writing thousands of letters to prominent ministers, teachers, business and professional men about the plan. But the pioneer in this national observance of motherhood was not Miss Jarvis, but a Kentucky schoolteacher who laid the groundwork for the idea long before Miss Jarvis did in 1907.
And as far as Julia Ward Howe, being considered as an advocate for a national observation of Mothers Day is clearly denied by her own writing. In her “Reminiscences” Howe states that she was in great opposition to Louis Napoleon from the period of the infamous act of treachery and violence, which made him emperor. Mothering Sunday
She wondered, “Why do not mothers of mankind interfere in these matters, to prevent the waste of that human life of which they alone bear and know the cost?” She felt if she sent an appeal to womanhood throughout the world that the waste of human life in war could be prevented.
Howe’s little document referred to as “Howe’s Mothers Day Proclamation” was not a proclamation about motherhood or her own mother in the sense that Mothers Day is expressed today but rather it was an anti-war movement. I see this woman dressed in black holding up a sign that reads, “Give peace a chance” as we saw during the Vietnam War.
Thank you for this opportunity to tell about a very special woman from Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky.”
Mothering Sunday / Mid-Lent-Sunday
England observed “Mothering Sunday”, or the “Mid-Lent-Sunday”, on the fourth Sunday in Lent. It is quite identical to the modern celebrations.
Some historians say that there are reasons to believe that the Mother Church was substituted for Mother Goddess by the early church. And this is why it became customary to visit the church of your baptism on this day. Some say the ceremonies in honor of ancient Roman god Cybele were adopted by the early church to venerate the Mother of Christ, Mother Mary. People attended the mother church of their parish, laden with offerings.
When her mother died in Philadelphia on May 9, 1905, Anna missed her greatly. So did her sister Elsinore whom she looked after as well. Anna felt children often neglected to appreciate their mother enough while the mother was still alive.
Now, she intended to start a Mothers Day, as an honoring of the mothers. In 1907, two years after her Mothers death, Anna Jarvis disclosed her intention to her friends. So, supported by her friends, she started a letter-writing campaign to urging ministers, businessmen and congressmen in declaring a national Mothers Day holiday. She hoped Mothers Day would increase respect for parents and strengthen family bonds.
Also in England, the custom began for those working away from homes to return to their homes on Mothering Sunday with small gifts, or, mothering cakes for their mothers. However, no one is certain about exactly when the custom began.
Of having every Mid-Lent Sunday celebrated as a day of family feast and get-together is reported to be a tradition during the 17th century.
John Brandt Mothers Day Theory
According to John Brandt, it was customary in the 18th and the early 19th centuries, for all those working away from home to be given a holiday to return to their own place. Back home they presented their mothers with a cake and little nosegays of violets and other wild flowers gathered in the hedgerows as they walked along the country lanes. Whole families attended church together and there was a dinner of roast lamb, or veal, at which mother was treated as queen of the feast. And everything was used to be done to make her happy.
The custom of Mothering Sunday became more widespread during the 19th century.
Amongst the customs was a practice of going to see parents, and specially the female ones. While going to the parents’ place children would take for them some little present, such as a cake or a trinket. Any youth engaged in such act of duty was said to go ‘amothering‘.
They day was celebrated with a festive mood appropriate to that day. The prominent dish was called furmety. It was a dish of wheat grains boiled in sweet milk, sugared and spiced.
In the northern part of England and Scotland there had been a custom of having steeped pease fried in butter, with pepper and salt. Pancakes so prepared passed by the name of carlings. It was so popular that from it Carling Sunday became a local name for the day.
The mothering cake also went by the name of simnel cake. This was a very rich fruit cake, the richer the better. For, the Lenten fast dictated that it must keep until Easter. First boiled in water and then baked, it sometimes had an almond icing. At other times the crust was of flour and water, colored with saffron. The word simnel comes from the Latin simila, a high grade wheat flour.
The customs of the Mothering Sunday in England started to decline with the changing pattern of the society following the Industrial Revolution.
Carnations A Floral Emblem of Mother Love
The carnations have become such a familiar part of Mothers Day observance that they are said to be an emblem of mother love. But why and how these flowers came to associate themselves with the Mothers Day?
Also called GRENADINE, OR CLOVE PINK, this herbaceous plant is a native to the Mediterranean area. Its fringe petaled flowers often have a spicy fragrance.
There are two general groups, the border, or garden, variety and the perpetual flowering variety. Border carnations include a range of varieties and hybrids. All flowers come in a range of colors, and are usually less than 5 cm (2 inches) in diameter and are borne on wiry, stiffly erect stems.
The perpetual flowering carnation, perhaps derived from crosses between the border carnations and the China pink, produces larger flowers. The flowers of this variety blooms almost continuously in the greenhouse.
Carnations are among the most popular cut flowers, used in floral arrangements, corsages, and boutonnieres. In Europe the carnation was formerly used as a treatment for fevers. It was also used to spice wine and ale during Elizabethan times, as a substitute for the more expensive clove.
In 1907, Miss Anna Jarvis selected the pink carnations as the symbol for Mothers Day. So, like the Day itself it was Miss Jarvis who made it a part of Mothers Day. She introduced and supplied these white carnations at the first service conducted in Grafton, West Virginia. They were chosen because of her Mothers fondness for them.
May be, at first they were not exactly picked up on an emblematic sense. But they were immediately accepted as appropriate for the occasion. It was the inherent quality of sweetness, purity and endurance that made the carnations so popular on Mothers Day.
Later, white carnations, with their sweet fragrance, came to be regarded as the flowers meant for those who have missed their mothers. Missed, either because of death, or, because of staying at a distance.
And it was the red carnations which in course of time became the symbol while wishing a living mother love. Perhaps, red, the color of blood and heart, was thought to be more suited to represent life and love.
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