Wishing all a Happy Mother’s Day! –
[you either are one and / or have one!]
Vintage Postcard, USA @1944, No. 5013
A few words on Mother’s Day: [text from Wikipedia]
The United States celebrates Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May. Julia Ward Howe first issued her Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870 as a call for women to join in support of disarmament, and asked for the [2nd of June] 1872 to be established as a “Mother’s Day for Peace”. In the 1880s and 1890s there were several further attempts to establish an American Mother’s Day, but these did not succeed beyond the local level. The current holiday was created by Anna Jarvis in Grafton,West Virginia, in 1908 as a day to honor one’s mother. Jarvis wanted to accomplish her mother’s dream of making a celebration for all mothers, although the idea did not take off until she enlisted the services of wealthy Philadelphia merchant John Wanamaker. She kept promoting the holiday until President Woodrow Wilson made it an official national holiday in 1914.
The holiday eventually became so highly commercialized that many, including its founder, Anna Jarvis, considered it a “Hallmark holiday,” i.e. one with an overwhelming commercial purpose. Jarvis eventually ended up opposing the holiday she had helped to create. She died in 1948, regretting what had become of her holiday. In the United States, Mother’s Day remains one of the biggest days for sales of flowers, greeting cards, and the like; it is also the biggest holiday for long-distance telephone calls. Moreover, churchgoing is also popular, yielding the highest church attendance after Christmas Eve and Easter. Many worshipers celebrate the day with carnations, colored if the mother is living and white if she has been deceased.
You can look here for a listing of how Mother’s Day is celebrated the world over: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother’s_Day
In the UK, Mothering Sunday occurs on the fourth Sunday in Lent, and the custom was well established in the mid 17th-century. I find this in the book The English Year, by Steve Roud (Penguin, 2006) – one of my favorite books on English customs.
It was one of the few vernacular customs which was universally regarded as a good thing, and which therefore attracted no reformers who wanted it abolished. (p. 105)
This traditional religious-based Mothering Sunday has also, as in the US, been supplanted by the commercial enterprise of cards, gifts and flowers…
… not a bad thing, I say, patiently awaiting said cards, gifts and flowers!
Happy Mother’s Day to all!
Further reading [and listening and doing!]:
- Mother’s Day Central
- A Dramatic Reading of Howe’s Proclamation by Felicity Huffman
- Jane Austen Tours Gore Place in Waltham, Massachusetts – Today!
- Shelburne Farms in Shelburne Vermont tradtionally opens on Mother’s Day, offering tours of the Inn – read here an article about these Inn tours that appeared in Vermont Magazine in 2007 – an article written by our very own JASNA-Vermont member Daphne Walker!
- and finally, because this IS a Jane Austen site, a web article by Myretta Robens from last May 2011 on “Happy Mother’s Day Mrs. Bennet: Jane Austen’s Mothers.”