We All Have One. Did You At Least Say Thank you?

nn Reeves Jarvis
Ann Reeves Jarvis | Photo by wikimedia.org

If you are a human you have one. Even the animals have one. As a matter of fact we couldn’t exist without one. To what am I referring? We all have a mother. Sunday May 9th was Mother’s Day. Did you celebrate by giving your mother a present or at least a phone call? The most common Mother’s day present is a bouquet of flowers. However this year, due apparently to the pandemic, there was a shortage of available flowers for the special day.

Ana Jarvis | Photo by wikipedia.com

When did this idea of celebrating Mother’s Day begin? For the answer to that question let’s go to history.com. “The American incarnation of Mother’s Day was created by Ana Jarvis in 1908 and became an official U.S. holiday in 1914.” The idea of celebrating motherhood actually goes way back to the Greeks and Romans who honored the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele with festivals. That’s something I never heard before.

It seems that the Fourth Sunday of Lent was designated as the time when the faithful would return to the main church near their home considered their “Mother Church” according to tradition in parts of Europe and the United Kingdom. Interest in the tradition started to diminish and it eventually melded with the American Mother’s Day in the 1930s and 1940s.

Ann Reeves Jarvis, Mother of Ana Jarvis | Photo by wikimedia.org

Even just before the American Civil War a West Virginia woman, Ann Reeves Jarvis, was one of the organizers of “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” where they taught women how to better take care of their children. She was the mother of Ana Jarvis.

circa 1855: American feminist, abolitionist and reformer Julia Ward Howe (1819 – 1910). She is best known fro writing the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Original Artwork: Engraving after a drawing by Porter (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The “Mother’s Day Proclamation” was written by in 1870 by Julia Ward Howe, who was a suffragette. It asked mothers to promote world peace. Three years later Howe campaigned for June 2nd to be declared “Mother’s Peace Day.”

Juliet Calhoun Blakely Photo by albionmich.com

Who knew there were so many women who worked to organize special celebrations for mothers? Not me. Albion Michigan was the location in the 1870s where temperance activist Juliet Calhoun Blakely helped found a local Mother’s day.

Quoting history.com “the duo of Mary Towless Sasseen and Frank Hering, meanwhile, both worked to organize a Mother’s Day in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some have even called Hering “the Father of Mothers’ Day.”

John Wanamaker Philadelphia Department Store Owner | Photo by thedrum.com

Back to Ana Jarvis who worked with John Wanamaker, owner of a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania department store, to organize that first Mothers’ Day event at one of his stores. That was successful and Jarvis continued to lobby for the National Mothers’ Day until President Woodrow Wilson signed into law that the second Sunday in May be officially declared as Mother’s Day.

There is an ironic twist to all of this that may surprise you. Quoting history.com for one last time “While Jarvis had initially worked with the floral industry to help raise Mother’s Day profile, by 1920 she had become disgusted with how the holiday had been commercialized. She outwardly denounced the transformation and urged people to stop buying Mother’s Day flowers, cards and candies.” I guess in her case the old saying “Be careful what you wish for you may get it” really came true.

In spite of of her dislike of what Mother’s Day became a majority of us still lavish our mothers with gifts on their special day.

Let me know what you would like me to talk about or explain. You can comment below or email me at: [email protected].

Tim Chuey is a Member of the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association and has been Awarded Seals of Approval for television weathercasting from both organizations.

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