The early beginnings are with ancient Greeks and Romans who celebrated the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele and later on with Christianity’s Mothering Sunday in Europe. In the USA at the end of the 19th century Ann Reeves Jarvis started a Mother’s Day club to teach women how to care for their children and after her passing her daughter Anna Jarvis began an effort to recognize a day commemorating mothers and their sacrifice caring for children. In May 1908 Anna received financial support from a local department store owner in Philadelphia John Wanamaker to organize the first official Mother’s Day celebration in a West Virginian church as well as in Wanamaker’s department stores around Philadelphia. Following a great success with the first Mother’s Day celebration Anna started a campaign of letters to newspapers and politicians arguing that public holidays were biased toward men and are missing a day dedicated to mothers. The popularity of Mother’s Day grew until in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson officially established the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
Anna originally conceived Mother’s Day as a personal day for families to celebrate their mothers, but soon thereafter commercial forces set in such as the floral and greeting cards industries. Originally, people would wear a White Carnation flower as a symbol for commemorating mothers who have passed.
Its whiteness is to symbolize the truth, purity and broad-charity of mother love; its fragrance, her memory, and her prayers. The carnation does not drop its petals, but hugs them to its heart as it dies, and so, too, mothers hug their children to their hearts, their mother love never dying. When I selected this flower, I was remembering my mother’s bed of white pinks. – Anna Jarvis
But soon with a growing demand for white carnation the flower industry added red carnation and promoted the idea that white carnation were to honor deceased mothers and red carnation to honor mothers who are alive. Prices kept on increasing and the commercializing of the holiday was in full force and included greeting cards and candy boxes.
Anna Jarvis realized that the original intent of Mother’s Day was wearing off, she said “A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.”
In 1943 Anna started organizing a petition to halt the commercialization of Mother’s Day, but her effort came to an abrupt stop when she was placed in Marshall Square Sanitarium in West Chester, Pennsylvania, an institution for the mentally ill, paid for by people connected to the floral and greeting cards industries.
In conclusion, Anna’s idea of a Mother’s Day is to find a place in our hearts to cherish our mother on this day and on every other day of the year. It is a day for us to reflect on the person giving birth to us and caring for us, a time to thank and appreciate, to give and love.
#mothersday #love #mom
Dr. Yaron Seidman DAOM