HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY
Mother's Day: A Complete History and Worldwide Perspective
Mother's Day Fast Facts
The earliest Mother's Day celebrations can be traced back to the spring celebrations of ancient Greece in honor ofRhea, 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.
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.
History and Worldwide Perspective
Mother's Day is a strange time of year for mail in many countries. In 1973, mail delivery through the U.S. Postal Service was delayed for eight days because of the amount of mail. Telephone networks are also at their busiest on Mother's Day. Mother's Day is the number one holiday for flowers purchased throughout the year.
Different countries celebrate Mother's Day on various days of the year because the day has a number of different origins. One school of thought claims this day emerged from a custom of mother worship in ancient Greece. Mother worship ó which kept a festival to Cybele, a great mother of gods, and Rhea, the wife of Cronus ó was held around the Vernal Equinox around Asia Minor and eventually in Rome itself from the Ides of March (March 15) to March 18. The romans also had another holiday,Matronalia, that was dedicated to Juno, though mothers were usally given gifts on this day.
In the United States, Mother's Day was originally conceived by social activist Julia Ward Howe during the American Civil War with a call to unite women against war. She wrote the Mother's Day Proclamation. In the British Isles, the day now simply celebrates motherhood and thanking mothers. According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother's Day is now the most popular day of the year to dine out at a restaurant in the United States.
In most countries, Mother's Day is a new concept copied from western civilization. In many African countries, Mother's Day has its origins in copying the British concept. In most of East Asia, Mother's Day is a heavily marketed and commercialized concept copied straight from Mother's Day in the USA.
Julia Ward Howe wrote the Mother's Day Proclamation in 1870, as a call for peace and disarmament. An excerpt follows:
From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice." Blood does not wipe our dishonor, Nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war, Let women now leave all that may be left of home For a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means Whereby the great human family can live in peace...
Howe failed in her attempt to get formal recognition of a Mother's Day for Peace. Her idea was influenced by Anna Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker who, starting in 1858, had attempted to improve sanitation through what she called Mothers' Work Days. She organized women throughout the Civil War to work for better sanitary conditions for both sides, and in 1868 she began work to reconcile Union and Confederate neighbors.
When Jarvis died, her daughter, also named Anna Jarvis, started the crusade to found a memorial day for women. The first such Mother's Day was celebrated in Grafton, West Virginia, on May 10, 1908, in the church where the elder Anna Jarvis had taught Sunday School. Grafton is the home to the International Mother's Day Shrine. From there, the custom caught on ó spreading eventually to 45 states. The holiday was declared officially by somes states beginning in 1912. In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson declared the first national Mother's Day. Nine years after the first official Mother's Day holiday, commercialization of the U.S. holiday became so rampant that Anna Jarvis herself became a major opponent of what the holiday had become. Mother's Day continues to this day to be one of the most commercially successful U.S. holidays.
Mothering Sunday, commonly called "Mother's Day" in the United Kingdom, has no direct connection to the American practice. It falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent (typically March or early April). It is believed to have originated from the Christian practice of visiting one's mother church annually, this meant that most families would be reunited on this day. Most historians believe that young apprentices and young women in servitude were released by their masters that weekend in order to visit their families.
-Mothering Sunday was celebrated in Britain beginning in the 17th century
- it was honored on the fourth Sunday in Lent
- it began as a day when apprentices and servants could return home for the day to visit their mothers
- they often brought a gift with them, often a "mothering cake" -- a kind of fruitcake or fruit-filled pastry known as simnels.
- furmety, a sweetened boiled cereal dish, was often served at the family dinner during Mothering Sunday celebrations
- by the 19th century, the holiday had almost completely died out
- Mother's Day in Britain -- or Mothering Sunday -- came to be celebrated again after World War II, when American servicemen brought the custom and commercial enterprises used it as an occasion for sales, etc.
The International Mother's Day Shrine
The Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church, the Mother Church of Mother's Day, became the International Mother's Day Shrine when it was incorporated on May 15, 1962. This beautiful, historic structure, built in 1873, is located on Main Street in downtown Grafton, WV, USA, one mile south of the junction of Routes 50 and 119. It is open by appointment and available for wedding services and tour groups.
International Mother's Day Shrine
Ancient Celebrations of Mothers and Motherhood
People in many ancient cultures celebrated holidays honoring motherhood, personified as a goddess. Here are just a few of those:
- ancient Greeks celebrated a holiday in honor of Rhea, the mother of the gods
- ancient Romans celebrated a holiday in honor of Cybele, a mother goddess, March 22-25 - the celebrations were notorious enough that followers of Cybele were banished from Rome
- in the British Isles and Celtic Europe, the goddess Brigid, and later her successor St. Brigid, were honored with a spring Mother's Day, connected with the first milk of the ewes.
Motherís Day, Not Nearly Enough Time, Just One Day For Mothers
Many take both Mother, and Motherís Day for granted. We all have, as children growing up. Motherís Day is more than just a Sunday to send flowers to Mom. Motherís Day is a memorial that serves as just a fleeting moment of the year to show honor and due reverence to one we love so dear. Itís only one day, and not nearly enough.
Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my field, since the payment is pure love. -- Mildred B. Vermont
Eight of her twelve children had been baptized in tears of grief. For Ana Maria Jarvis the Civil War was far from civil. It didnít seem fair that a mother should outlive so many children, yet she did. In doing so, Ana left a legacy that was adopted and championed by an unmarried daughter who shared her motherís name.
In 1905, the younger Ana would baptize her motherís grave in her own tears and begin a quest to bring attention to the incredible gift of mothering.
Two years later, Ana Jarvis sought to have Motherís Day recognized on a national level. The second Sunday in May was the second anniversary of the death of Anaís mother so this was a logical choice for Jarvis. Ana lobbied politicians to accept the notion of a day set aside to honor mothers. By 1911 the day was celebrated in almost every state in the union.
The tradition did not stop in America either. This special holiday is now recognized in many countries around the world.
More than a century has passed since the mother of inspiration passed away, and yet it is her legacy that is reflected in the admiration of multiple generations for the tradition of motherhood.
The choice of a Motherís Day gift is a common celebration of that tradition. Special care should be exercised when seeking out a gift that proclaims a willingness to attempt to pay a debt that can never fully be repaid.
A gourmet gift such as an Oil and Vinegar Set can pay homage to the grand tradition of Motherís Day in a way that brings a stroke of brilliant elegance and style to the occasion.
Gifts for the kitchen or that will ultimately tempt the palate are perfect for Motherís Day gift giving primarily because moms spend so much time in the kitchen. Gifts that aid in meal preparations or pamper the taste buds are a welcome departure from more familiar gifts.
A kitchen gift may even indicate a willingness to return for a well anticipated meal with mom. Spending time with our mothers is important in maintaining closeness throughout the years. A Motherís Day kitchen gift speaks volumes in regards to individual thoughtfulness, creativity and degree of kindness.
Itís possible to become so caught up in our own worlds that we forget the moments in childhood when our jelly-stained hands would reach for momís and weíd gaze into her eyes wondering why we couldnít marry her or how much we wanted to be like her when we grew up.
Should you be able to take the second Sunday in May to personally express your appreciation for your Mother, be sure to take along a special gift that says you care. Then, consider investing some of your time with your mom. Grab her hand and look into her eyes and allow yourself to recapture the wonder of childhood. Youíre in the midst of greatness.
We owe a debt of gratitude to Ana Jarvis for her persistent call for a day to honor the esteemed calling of motherhood. I think Ana would agree that, when it comes to motherhood, a lifetime is not nearly enough time to say thanks.
Butterfly Mobile (from Holidays Net Mother's Day):
Most sculpture in the round is fixed to a base, and it doesn't move, but American artist Alexander Calder changed that when he invented the mobile in the early 1930s. While his mobiles were usually hung in an open space, sometimes he created standing mobiles. The butterfly mobile described here mounts on a base, too. It requires just a few materials that most everyone has around the house, and it will make a great Mother's Day gift!
You Will Need:
You can use your imagination to create a fantasy butterfly, as we did, or study photos of butterflies to learn how to make more realistic insects. Butterflies occur in a variety of shapes and colors, and their wings have beautiful markings. One thing they have in common, however, is the symmetry of their wings. That is, the size and shape of one side or half matches the other.
The easiest way to make sure that your butterfly will be symmetrical is to draw one-half of the insect on a folded piece of paper, with the body touching the fold. Keeping the paper closed, cut out the wings. Trace this shape on cardboard, and cut it out.
Our fantasy butterfly was made by first painting a wet-in-wet watercolor. Before starting, protect the table with a layer of newspapers, and place a sheet of wax paper on top. Put a piece of rice paper on top of the wax paper, and soak it with water. Paint the paper, letting the colors flow into each other. Be sure to use lots of paint, because watercolor tends to dry lighter than it appears as you work.
When the paper is dry, turn it face down, and trace the cardboard butterfly. Now lay the pattern on another area, trace it again, and add a margin of at least 1/2" all the way around the shape. Clip the margin at 1/2" intervals up to the traced shape. Put a thinned coating of glue on the pattern, and paste it to the wrong side of this paper. Now, one at a time, put glue on each tab and fold it over so that you cover the edge of the cardboard. Glue the other piece of painted paper to the bottom of the butterfly. Gently shape the wings while the cardboard and paper are damp.
To make the body, paint the clothespin black. When it's dry, make a hole in the underside with a drill or awl, and slide it over the wings. To keep it in place, pack the underside opening of the pin with small scraps of cardboard. Choose a dark colored pipe cleaner for the antennae. Fold it in half, and twist the center around the head of the clothespin to fasten it. Shape the antennae.
After the butterfly is finished, you're ready to attach it to the base with the coat hanger. Decide how tall you want the mobile to be, and use pliers to remove the hook portion and some additional length from the hanger. If you wish, cover the wire with floral tape, and bend it into a spiral or zigzag shape. Insert one end of the wire in the body, and staple the other end onto the block. Paint the wood a color which complements the butterfly, and if you wish, decorate the base with dried moss and flowers. Place the butterfly in a breezy area, and surprise your mom for Mother's Day!
Make a Tray for Mother's Day (from Holidays Net Mother's Day):
If you'd like to make mom a special gift, you can recycle a small picture frame to make an attractive tray. It will be just the right size to keep small items organized on her vanity.
We'll make the tray by using papier mache, a technique in which strips of newspapers are pasted onto the frame. For centuries making paper was limited and expensive, so recycling the material to make new products was a practical application of papier mache. Today the craft is practiced worldwide, and it has been used to make everything from simple puppets and piggy banks to expensive boutique items and characters on parade floats.
You will need:
Making a small tray is a great way to recycle an old or damaged picture frame. Since the entire frame will be covered, no one will notice the flaws. If you don't have a frame available, look for one at garage sales or try your local thrift store. If the glass is still in place, have an adult remove it and set it aside. Measure the rabbet or groove inside the frame, and cut pieces of mat board to fit. You'll need many pieces, because it will be necessary to fill the frame from front to back. Measure the back of the frame and cut one larger piece of mat board to cover it.
Glue all the smaller pieces of mat board together, and put rubber bands around them to hold them in place for a few minutes. Remove the bands, and glue the boards inside the frame where the glass would normally fit. If necessary, add more mat board to fill the frame. Finally, glue the larger sheet of mat board onto the back of the frame, and add some strips of masking tape all around to help hold it in place. Protect the table with newspapers, and work on a sheet of wax paper to prevent gluing your project to the newspapers.
Mix the wallpaper paste according to manufacturer's directions. Tear the newspaper into small squares or short strips, and begin pasting them to the tray form. Dip the paper into the mixture, and remove the extra paste by running the strip between your fingers and thumb. Apply one layer over the entire tray, front and back. When dry, apply a primer coat of gesso to the sides, top, and inside of the form. It's not necessary to prime the back, because it will be covered with felt.
Painting a design on the tray is the fun part of this activity. You can paint the entire form one color, and then apply surface decoration on top of this base coat. To make the tray more interesting, however, you might want to use several colors. Before you start, look at the form to see if there are any definite shapes or borders suggested by the picture frame beneath the paper surface. You can paint the large area in the center one color and paint the frame portion one or more colors, for example. Also, paint a small strip of color all around on the back of the tray to hide any paper which the felt may not cover.
After the base coat is dry, you're ready to apply the surface decoration to the entire frame. Rather than painting something realistic, consider using a design. It's easy to get ideas on good design elements by looking at patterns in printed fabric and paper such as those found in drapery and wallpaper. Another way is to study other cultures and use their painting techniques to inspire your work. Can you imagine painting without a brush? The aborigines of Australia have been painting beautiful dot designs with sticks for thousands of years!
You can try your hand at stick painting by using short lengths of dowel rods, cotton swabs, or similar materials. To begin, look at the tray to see if there are any "natural" shapes or borders that could be decorated by stick painting. Dip the stick into a color, and apply it to the tray. Repeat until this area is covered with a design. Another way to decorate the surface is to dip the edge of a small piece of mat board into paint and apply it to the form. When you've finished painting, set the tray aside to dry. Complete the project by attaching felt to the back with fabric glue.
Your picture framer may share used or damaged frames with you. He or she often has a supply on hand, because customers who bring work in for reframing don't want their old frames returned. Also the framer may donate odd scraps of mat board for your project.
You can substitute other heavy cardboard for mat board. A paper cutter is an ideal tool to use in cutting the material to the sizes you'll need. Whether you're using a utility knife or a paper cutter, however, always have an adult do the cutting for you.
While it's not essential, one coat of gloss acrylic varnish applied to the finished tray will make it more attractive and durable.
INTERESTING MOTHER'S DAY FACTS, TRADITIONS AND SUPERSTITIONS
- Mother's Day in Britain -- or Mothering Sunday -- came to be celebrated again after World War II, when American servicemen brought the custom and commercial enterprises used it as an occasion for sales, etc.
- The second Sunday in May is Mother's Day not only in the United States, but also in other countries including Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Australia and Belgium. By the end of Anna Jarvis' life, Mother's Day was celebrated in more than 40 countries.
- In Spain, Mother's Day is December 8, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, so that not only mothers in one's family are honored, but also Mary, mother of Jesus.
- In France, Mother's Day is on the last Sunday of May. A special cake resembling a bouquet of flowers is presented to mothers at a family dinner.
- About 96% of American consumers take part in some way in Mother's Day.
- Mother's Day is widely reported as the peak day of the year for long distance telephone calls .
- Mother's Day is the busiest day of the year for many restaurants .
- The International Mother's Day Shrine: this church in Grafton, West Virginia, was the site of the first unofficial Mother's Day celebration as created by Anna Jarvis, May 10, 1907.
- To predict the sex of a baby: Suspend a wedding band held by a piece of thread over the palm of the pregnant girl. If the ring swings in an oval or circular motion the baby will be a girl. If the ring swings in a straight line the baby will be a boy.
- Birthday Beliefs:
MOTHER'S DAY GIFT IDEAS
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