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The Evolution of Mother's Day

History of Mother's Day

Many popular celebrations of mothers and motherhood have existed throughout the world for thousands of years- Traditions such as the Greek cult to Cybele, the mother god Rhea, the Roman festival of Hilaria, and the Christian Laetare Sunday celebration (associated with the image of Mother Church), to name a few. In some countries, Mother's day is still identical to these older traditions, but in most countries, Mother's Day is a custom acquired from the holiday as it has evolved in the United States.

Mother hugging two children

The Mother's Day that most may be familiar with is a celebration honoring the mother of the family. It is celebrated on multiple days in various parts of the world, most commonly in March or May. The founder of Mother's Day in the United States is Anna Maria Jarvis. Jarvis's mother had often expressed a passion for establishing such a holiday. After the death of her mother, Jarvis led the movement for the commemoration. On May 10, 1908, considered to be America's first Mother's Day celebration, Jarvis sent 500 white carnations to Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in her hometown of Grafton, West Va., in honor of her late mother, Ann. She also celebrated in Philadelphia, where she lived at the time.

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By 1911 all United States observed the holiday. A few years later, Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation In 1914, designating Mother's Day, to be held on the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers. As the holiday became more commercialized, giving an excuse for increased sales of cards and flowers, Jarvis attempted to have Mother's Day repealed as both she and her mother's vision of the holiday looked very different from the gift-centric holiday of modern times. According to Katharine Lane Antolini, an assistant professor of history and gender studies at West Virginia Wesleyan College, the original idea of Jarvis' mother was not a day for one's own mother but a day that mothers would get together for a day of service to help out other mothers who were less fortunate than they were.

Clothing Donation Drive

Don't let society delude you into believing that there is only one way to celebrate Mother’s Day. It is disheartening to see how far away from this original ideal we have gotten, but we can learn and grow with this knowledge. Sometimes looking at ideologies from a different perspective can better help us learn things about ourselves that we wouldn't imagine independently. Also, keep in mind that "Mom" can be whoever fits the description for you. Mother's day should be about showing love and honor to the person who was and/or continues to be loving, caring, forgiving, and a good role model.

Mother and Daughter sharing gifts

It's time we got back to the original intention of this holiday. Let's honor those who aren't with us and cherish the moments we have with those still here. Mother’s Day is not a competition to see who buys the most expensive gift, but instead, a day to honor the person that loved you unconditionally even before you were born. There are always ways to express your gratitude without being overly flashy or breaking the bank. Let store-bought gifts be last on the list; albeit, if you are going to buy a gift- choose with sincerity that comes from the heart.

By: Jowanna's Corner

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