There are few things in this world beloved more than mom.
Moms are the embodiment of eternal love and devotion. Sick and need caring for? Mom’s there with a bowl of chicken soup. Had your heart broken? Mom’s using her sleeve to dry your tears. As inherently selfless creatures, you know that they deserve a day all to themselves, one that celebrates everything that they stand for.
No matter where you are in the world, there is a day to celebrate mom. While it might not be on the same day around the world, there is a universal appreciation for mothers everywhere. But did you know that getting Mother’s Day recognized as a national holiday in the United States only dates back to 1914? Since the dawn of time we have been thankful for our mothers, but it took persistent activists to really get the holiday on the nationally recognized level.
While mom is a good enough reason to celebrate Mother’s Day, there are a ton of things worth knowing about this happy holiday. For instance, did you know that the origins of Mother's Day can be traced all the way back to the Greeks and Romans? Both groups held festivals in honor of mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele. Since then there were multiple milestones and holiday celebration that evolved to make Mother’s Day the extravaganza it is today.
So this year, impress mom with more than just a bouquet of flowers... tell her one of these interesting facts that she probably didn’t even know.
1. Used to Be Called Mothering Sunday
While the modern American Mother’s Day didn’t evolve until years later, the most clear precursor to the holiday was the Christian celebration of “Mothering Sunday.” In the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, Mothering Sunday fell on the fourth Sunday in Lent, where parishioners would return to their “mother” church.
2. Mother’s Day: The Early Years
The roots of the modern Mother’s Day predate the Civil War. Ann Reeves Jarvis began “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to teach local women how to properly care for their children. Jarvis later organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” a peaceful movement where mothers convened with former Union and Confederate soldiers. Other proponents of Mother’s Day were Julia Ward Howe who wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” in hopes of uniting mother’s to stand for world peace. She later petitioned for June 2nd to be recognized as “Mother’s Peace Day.” Activist Juliet Calhoun Blakely began a local Mother’s Day in Albion, Mich. during the 1870s. Mary Towles Sasseen and Frank Hering also worked to organize an official Mothers’ Day.
3. The First Mother’s Day
After the death of Ann Reeves Jarvis in 1908, her daughter Anna Jarvis sought to host a celebration to thank mothers everywhere for all they do. She held the first Mother’s Day celebration in a Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia with financial backing from Philadelphia retail owner John Wanamaker. Thousands also congregated in Philadelphia at Wanamaker’s retail store for a Mother’s Day celebration of their own.
4. Why the Date Changes
After Jarvis successfully held her first Mother’s Day, she sought out to make it a national celebration. After years of lobbying, she finally got the attention of President Woodrow Wilson in 1914. He proclaimed that the second Sunday in May, no matter what the date, would belong to moms across the nation.
5. The Founder Was Not a Mother
Jarvis, though she founded the American modern concept of Mother’s Day, remained unmarried and childless throughout her entire life.
Find out more facts about Mother's Day.
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