- Ancient Egyptians held an annual festival to honor the goddess Isis, the Mother of the Pharohs. She gave birth to Horus, the first Pharoh, after impregnating herself via her dead husband's body (go figure).
- Ancient Greeks held an annual Spring Festival devoted to Rhea, the Mother of the Gods, including Zeus and his siblings Hestia, Hades, Demeter, Poseidon, and Hera.
- The Romans celebrated Hilaria, a spring-time festival where games were held in honor of the Mother of the Gods, Cybele. They would parade through the streets with a statue of the goddess carried at the head, followed by a display of elaborate arts and crafts.
- Early Christians would honour their "Mother Church" (the church where they were baptized) on the fourth Sunday of Lent with celebrations and decorations. Then, in the 1600's, in England, the celebration was broadened to include real Mothers, referring to the day as Mothering Day, and servants and workers were allowed to travel back to their home towns to visit their families.
- Our modern, North American Mother's Day (it had been largely discarded by settlers), dates to Julia Ward Howe's declaration for an international Mother's Day celebrating peace and motherhood (this was in 1870, after the Civil War, when many mothers had lost their sons). She even footed the bill for several celebrations, though the practice died out entirely in 10-15 years.
- However, a women’s group led by Anna Reeves Jarvis began to celebrate an adaptation of Howe’s holiday to re-unite families and neighbors that had been divided between the Union and Confederate sides of the Civil War. They called this day Mother’s Friendship Day.
- When Anna Reeves Jarvis died, her daughter, Anna M. Jarvis, campaigned to create a special day to honor mothers, to memorialize the life work of her mother. This was accomplished in 1914 when Woodrow Wilson signed a bill recognizing Mother's Day as a national holiday.
- The American holiday became commercialized very quickly - as early as 1923 Anna M. Jarvis sued to stop one Mother's Day event, and in the 30's she was arrested for disturbing the peace whilst protesting the sale of flowers by an American War Mothers group. She would also petition against a postage stamp featuring her Mother with the words “Mother’s Day", and try to copyright the term so it could not be used other than she had intended!
I also wanted to share this with you. My Aunt sent it along, and I see myself in many of the lines. Perhaps you will too :-)
Before I was a Mom
Before I was a Mom, I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby. I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous. I never thought about immunizations.
Before I was a Mom, I had never been puked on. Pooped on. Chewed on. Peed on. I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts. I slept all night.
Before I was a Mom, I never held down a screaming child so doctors could do tests. Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried. I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin. I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.
Before I was a Mom, I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put her down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn't stop the hurt. I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much. I never knew that I could love someone so much.
Before I was a Mom, I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.. I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby. I didn't know that bond between a mother and her child. I didn't know that something so small could make me feel so important and happy.
Before I was a Mom, I had never gotten up in the middle of the night, every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay. I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache, the wonderment, or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
Happy Mother's Day!