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The History of Mothers Day

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Mothers Day is a holiday rich in history. In the United States the current incarnation of Mothers Day is thanks to Anna Jarvis. Mothers Day became an official U.S. holiday in 1914. Typical, the origins stray from the current incarnation. So much so that Jarvis would later denounce the holiday’s commercialization and spent the latter part of her life trying to remove it from the calendar. Mother’s Day commonly falls on the second Sunday in May and traditionally involves presenting mothers with flowers, cards and other gifts.

Like many secular holidays, Mother Days has historical origins. During Lent, churches around the world celebrated mothering Sunday. (Usually the Fourth Week of Lent) The church is considered feminine in nature and people were encouraged to return home to their "mother church" as a part of the celebration.

The secular changes started after the Civil War. Deep divisions within the south and north were of concern to mothers. Especially when their children were divided by the war itself. Some saw it as a celebration that could help with reconciliation of siblings. Further encouragement came from the political wishes of suffragettes. Many female abolitionists were greatly disappointed that the end of the war focused only on the end of slavery while ignoring the plight of women's rights issues. To draw positive attention to mothers, they organized Mother's Friendship Day. Later, Jarvis would insist that Mother's Day be a celebration of the sacrifices moms make for their children.

Honoring moms is truly a rich experience unique to our culture. For all of my readers, Happy Mothers Day.



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