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An Open Letter to My Mother
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The Story of Mother's Day
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Teach Your Children Well
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The earliest Mother's Day celebrations can be traced back to the spring celebrations of
ancient Greece in honor of Rhea, the Mother of the Gods. During the 1600's, England
celebrated a day called "Mothering Sunday". Celebrated on the 4th Sunday of Lent (the
40 day period leading up to Easter), "Mothering Sunday" honored the mothers of England.
Copyright © May 2005 Low Carb Luxury
During this time many of the England's poor worked as servants for the wealthy. As most
jobs were located far from their homes, the servants would live at the houses of their
employers. On Mothering Sunday the servants would have the day off and were encouraged
to return home and spend the day with their mothers. A special cake, called the mothering
cake, was often brought along to provide a festive touch.
As Christianity spread throughout Europe the celebration changed to honor the "Mother
Church" - the spiritual power that gave them life and protected them from harm. Over
time the church festival blended with the Mothering Sunday celebration. People began
honoring their mothers as well as the church.
In the United States Mother's Day was first suggested in 1872 by Julia Ward Howe (who
wrote the words to the Battle hymn of the Republic) as a day dedicated to peace. Ms.
Howe would hold organized Mother's Day meetings in Boston, Mass ever year.
In 1907 Ana Jarvis, from Philadelphia, began a campaign to establish a national Mother's
Day. Ms. Jarvis persuaded her mother's church in Grafton, West Virginia to celebrate
Mother's Day on the second anniversary of her mother's death, the 2nd Sunday of May.
By the next year Mother's Day was also celebrated in Philadelphia.
Ms. Jarvis and her supporters began to write to ministers, businessman, and politicians
in their quest to establish a national Mother's Day. It was successful as by 1911
Mother's Day was celebrated in almost every state. President Woodrow Wilson, in 1914,
made the official announcement proclaiming Mother's Day as a national holiday that was
to be held each year on the 2nd Sunday of May.
While many countries of the world celebrate their own Mother's Day at different times
throughout the year, there are some countries such as Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey,
Australia, and Belgium which also celebrate Mother's Day on the second Sunday of May.
Photography copyright © 2005 Neil Beaty.