26TH FEB 2017
THe real story behind mother's day
BY J.S. VON DACRE
The concept of Mother’s Day dates back to the ancient times when the Greeks and Romans had designated days to honour their maternal goddesses. In fact, these celebrations predated Jesus and often lasted for a few days. Offerings were made at the temples and the festivities culminated with masquerades and games.
After the rise of Christianity, the fourth Sunday of Lent was used to worship the Virgin Mary, which became known as “Mothering Sunday”. Its popularity in England grew in the 1600s, and people were encouraged to pay tribute to their own mothers by buying them presents. By the 19th century, however, the custom had dwindled.
In 1873, Julia Ward Howe, an activist and writer, campaigned to have a “Mother’s Peace Day” in the USA. She wrote an appeal to women, in what became known as the “Mother’s Day Proclamation”, asking for mothers to join forces to promote world peace.
Yet, it was Anna Jarvis who was responsible for the modern Mother’s Day in the USA. Despite never having children herself, the idea came from her own mother, who frequently spoke of her desire for a day to pay tribute to the sacrifices of mothers.
Following her mother’s death, Anna was determined to bring that dream to life. She soon garnered a following in support of her cause and many letters were written to politicians asking for an official declaration of Mother’s Day. By 1911, Mother’s Day was celebrated in each state and by 1914, the second Sunday in May was named as the official date for Mother’s Day in the USA.
Unfortunately, by 1920 Anna had grown disenchanted with how commercialised the holiday had become. Her original concept was for people to wear white carnations and visit their mothers or attend church. She encouraged people to not buy flowers and cards in a bid to stop the profiteers. In the end, she lost most of her money in numerous lawsuits and campaigns to have the holiday removed.
Mother’s Day has since grown and evolved, with countries all around the world celebrating it on different days and with different traditions. Here in the UK, our Mother's Day is still held on the fourth Sunday of Lent, which is three weeks before Easter Sunday and generally in March. So, in whatever way you choose to spend yours, everyone here at Merola wishes you a Happy Mother's day.