May 10, 2021
Yesterday was Mother’s Day and I thought I would give a shout out to all the mothers. When I looked online, I found the celebration of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans as they held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele. The modern precedent for Mother’s Day is the early Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday.” This was once a major tradition in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, and the celebration fell on the fourth Sunday in Lent and was originally seen as a time when the faithful would return to their “mother church”, or the main church in the vicinity of their home, for a special service.
Mother’s Day is a holiday honoring motherhood that is observed in different forms throughout the world. In the US, the day originated in 1908 and became an official holiday in 1914. While the dates and celebrations vary, Mother’s Day traditionally involves presenting mother with flowers, cards, and gifts. Melissa and I decided to give my mother a special treat by going to see her with a trip to Kansas (really?). Since the pandemic struck, we have not seen my mother in over a year. Sadly, that did not work out.
The official Mother’s Day holiday in the US rose in the 1900’s because of the efforts of Anna Jarvis. Following her mother’s death in 1905, Jarvis conceived of Mother’s Day as a way of honoring the sacrifices mothers made for their children. Over time, the Mothering Sunday tradition shifted into a more secular holiday, and children would present their mothers with flowers and other tokens of appreciation. The custom eventually faded in popularity before merging with the American Mother’s Day in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Jarvis remained unmarried and childless throughout her life but resolved to see the holiday added to the national calendar. She argued that American holidays were biased toward male achievements and started a massive letter writing campaign to newspapers and prominent politicians urging the adoption of a special day honoring motherhood. Rightly so, we now honor our mother with a special day.
Thoughts: While we now honor mothers on the second Sunday of May, we need to remember to honor our mother on every day of the year. Just like Father’s Day, which honors or fathers, honoring those mothers who went before and gave rise to us is an important celebration. We are not just progeny; we are future generations. We need to remember and celebrate the memory of those who came before. We honor them for what they taught, but also for what they sacrificed for us. Do the work. Change is coming and it starts with you.