Like many special occasions, Mother’s Day has become a large commercial event. Mother’s Day gifts including jewelry, candy, flowers, and dining out have made this a great holiday for businesses. According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother’s Day is now the most popular day of the year to dine out.
As with other special occasions, we need to remind ourselves the day is not just about giving gifts and eating fine foods, it’s also about giving appreciation and becoming closer to our Mothers.
If you want to make your Mother’s Day special, give her the gift of time – yours. Spend time with your Mom and if you are short on cash, don’t worry – tidy up, make her dinner, turn the tables and take care of her for a change.
And if you wish to buy her something special, there’s always the ever popular bouquet of flowers. Remember, just about any type of flowers will be well received – after-all she’s your Mother and is unendingly supportive, however white carnations are the official flower of Mother’s Day and you can thank Anna Jarvis for that.
Here are 10 Fun Facts About Mothers Day …
1– Not one, but two Mother’s Days?
Different countries celebrate Mother’s Day on various days of the year because the day has a number of different origins. The celebrations (in one form or another) have existed for over a thousand years.
One school of thought claims this day emerged from a custom of mother worship in ancient Greece, which kept a festival to Cybele, a great mother of Greek gods. This festival was held around the Vernal Equinox around Asia Minor and eventually in Rome itself from the (15 March) to 18 March.
The ancient Romans also had another holiday, Matronalia, that was dedicated to Juno, though mothers were usually given gifts on this day.
In some countries the Mother’s Day began not as a celebration for individual mothers but rather for Christians as is now the case case in Britain and many parts of Europe.
2 — Mothering Sunday, a very different story.
For more than 500 years the fourth Sunday of Lent has been observed and celebrated in Europe. Often called Laetare Sunday, the more commonly known name is Mothering Sunday.
This ancient celebration (not to be confused with the American holiday Mothers Day) was also once known as “the Sunday of the Five Loaves,” from the traditional Gospel reading for the day.
Prior to the adoption of the modern “common” lectionaries, the Gospel reading for this Sunday in the Anglican, Roman Catholic, Western-rite Orthodox, and Old Catholic churches was the story of the miracle of the loaves and fishes.
Another name for this ancient religious ceremony is Rose Sunday because the golden rose sent by the popes to Catholic sovereigns, used to be blessed at this time.
3 — When you go ‘a Mothering’ you’re doing what?
The two main Mother’s Day occasions have different roots and meanings, the European Mothering Sunday is said to have it’s history in the ancient crucible of civilization – Greece, however there is also another explanation, a more family oriented tale.
In the middle ages children were often apprenticed to learn a trade or skill. When this happened – and it happened at an early age – the children would live and work with their master and the parents would not likely see their children regularly after that – if at all.
There was however the tradition of an annual celebration of returning to ones Mother Church. Everyone was permitted to have the day off work and they’d return to this main Church to meet up with family, friends and to celebrate the season.
In some cases this special Sunday mass was the only time Mothers would get to see their children that year and so it was not long before the event was known by the deed – to go ‘a Mothering’ meant to visit the Mother Church as well as to see ones Mother.
4 — A North American Mothers Day (Part 1)
In North America we celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May. This North American event was loosely inspired by the British day and was originally imported by the social activist Julia Ward Howe after the American civil war.
Ms Howe intended the day as a call to unite women against war and in 1870 she wrote the ‘Mother’s Day Proclamation’ as a call for peace and disarmament. Howe failed in her attempt to gain formal recognition of Mother’s Day for Peace.
Ms Howe’s idea was originally influenced by Ann Jarvis who begun a movement back in 1858 to improve sanitation through special days she called ‘Mother’s Work Days.’ Jarvis organized women throughout the Civil War to work for better sanitary conditions for both sides and in 1868 after the war, she worked to help reconcile the Confederate and Union neighbours.
5 — A North American Mothers Day (Part 2)
Two years after her Mothers death, in 1907, on the second Sunday in May, Anna invited several friends to her home in Philadelphia, in commemoration of her mother’s life. On this occasion, she announced her idea – a day of national celebration in honor of mother – a Mother’s Day.
The first Mother’s Day Memorial happened on May 10, 1908 and was celebrated in the Church were her Mother Ann Jarvis had worked as a Sunday School teacher. Anna established the white carnation as the symbol of the celebration and developed other text and visual tools in honor of the event.
From this first memorial Sunday, the custom caught on and spread across many of the American states. The holiday was first officially declared by certain states in 1912 and in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson declared the first national Mother’s Day, as a day for American citizens to show the flag in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war.
Mother’s Day continues to this day – albeit with a slightly different theme than President Wilson had indicated – and today is one of the most commercially successful U.S. occasions. According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother’s Day is now the most popular day of the year to dine out at a restaurant in the United States.
6 — A thousand years of fruitcake?
In British and Irish Mothering Sunday tradition, a special treat is enjoyed and it’s known as Simnel cake.
Simnel cake is a light fruit cake, similar to a Christmas cake, covered in marzipan, and eaten at Easter in the UK and Ireland. A layer of marzipan or almond paste is also baked into the middle of the cake. On the top of the cake, around the edge, are eleven marzipan balls to represent the true apostles of Jesus; Judas is omitted. In some variations Christ is also represented, by a ball placed at the centre.
The cake is made from these ingredients: white flour, sugar, butter, eggs, fragrant spices, dried fruits, zest and candied peel.
Simnel cakes have been known since mediaeval times, and were originally a Mothering Sunday tradition, when young girls in service would make one to be taken home to their mothers on their day off. The word simnel probably derived from the Latin word simila, meaning fine, wheaten flour with which the cakes were made. A legend, however, attributes the cake’s creation to the English pretender Lambert Simnel, who supposedly devised it during the time in which he was forced to work in Henry VII’s kitchens.
Different British towns had their own recipes and shapes of the Simnel cake. Bury, Devizes and Shrewsbury produced large numbers to their own recipes, but it is the Shrewsbury version that became most popular and well known.
7 — Mother’s Day in various parts of the world
In most countries, Mother’s Day is a new concept copied from western civilization. In many African countries, the idea of one Mother’s Day has its origins in copying the British concept, although there are many festivals and events celebrating mothers within the many diverse cultures on the African continent that have been there centuries before the colonials arrived. In most of East Asia, Mother’s Day is a heavily marketed and commercialized concept copied straight from Mother’s Day in the USA.
Mother’s Day is celebrated on different days throughout the world. Examining the trends in Google searches for the term “mother’s day” shows two major blips, the smaller one on the fourth Sunday in Lent (it is also called ladies day and women’s day), and the larger one on the second Sunday in May.
8 — White Carnations are the official flower of Mother’s Day
In the Spring 1908, three years after the death of her Mother Ann Jarvis, Anna Jarvis celebrated the first public Mother’s Day memorial. This open celebration of her Mother’s life and works was held at Andrews Methodist Church in Grafton West Virginia, where Anna’s Mother had worked for twenty years as a Sunday School teacher.
The celebration and memorial was inspired the previous year at a private memorial when Anna had invited friends to her home to celebrate her Mother’s life. During that occasion Anna announced her intentions to create a national celebration day commemorating all Mothers.
Anna established the white carnation as the symbol of the celebration and developed other text and visual tools in honor of the event. It was Anna who coined the term, “Mother’s Day Association”, used during the period she was developing her concept of what Mother’s Day should be.
Since 1908, a celebration for mothers has taken place at the Andrews Methodist Church, now known as the International Mother’s Day Shrine, in the town of Grafton, West Virginia. This historic building has been designated a national historic Landmark and is the focal point in the town’s preparation for a centennial celebration of the first Mother’s Day in May, 2008.
9 — Anna Jarvis, founder of Mother’s Day
Anna Marie Jarvis (May 1, 1864, Webster, West Virginia — November 24, 1948, West Chester, Pennsylvania) is recognized as the founder of the Mother’s Day holiday in the United States of America
Anna Jarvis was born in the tiny town of Webster in Taylor County, West Virginia. She was the daughter of Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis. The family moved to nearby Grafton, West Virginia in her childhood.
On May 12, 1907, two years after her mother’s death, she held a private memorial to her mother and thereafter embarked upon a campaign to make “Mother’s Day” a recognized holiday. She succeeded in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson made the second Sunday in May a nationally recognized occasion celebrating Mother’s. The International Mother’s Day Shrine was established in Grafton to commemorate her accomplishment.
Anna Jarvis incorporated herself as the Mother’s Day International Association and claimed copyright on the second Sunday of May. Ms Jarvis had very strong opinions regarding how Mother’s Day should be celebrated and this included appropriate gifts, handwritten notes, candies and flowers – of which she chose the white carnation as the official flower of Mother’s Day.
10 — Mother’s Day Quotes and Inspirations
The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. ~ Rajneesh
All mothers are working mothers. ~ Author Unknown
Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs… since the payment is pure love. ~ Mildred B. Vermont
A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. ~ Tenneva Jordan
A man’s work is from sun to sun, but a mother’s work is never done. ~ Author Unknown
A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest. ~ Irish Proverb
God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers. ~ Jewish Proverb
Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother. ~ Oprah Winfrey
My mom is a never-ending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune. ~ Graycie Harmon