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The Creation of Mother's Day

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 9th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The origin of Mother's Day goes back to the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans. However the roots of Mother's Day can also be traced back in the United Kingdom where a Mothering Sunday was celebrated before it reached the United States.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The celebration of Mother's Day today reaches roughly 46 countries, on different dates, and has become an extremely popular day. Millions and millions of people across the world take the day to honor their mothers, to thank them for giving them life, for raising them, for being their constant support, and for being their mother.

The earliest known history of Mother's Day dates back to the ancient annual spring festival that the Greeks dedicated to maternal goddesses. The occasion was to honor Rhea, wife of Cronus and the mother of many gods of Greek mythology.

Ancient Romans also celebrated a spring festival, called Hilaria, dedicated to Cybele, a mother goddess. Ceremonies in honor of Cybele began approximately 250 years before Jesus Christ was born. Celebrated on the Ides of March, offerings in the Temple of Cybele lasted for three days and included parades and games.

Early Christians celebrated a day to honor mothers during a festival on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Originally the celebration was to honor the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ, however the holiday was later expanded in England to include all mothers. Thus the celebration was called Mothering Sunday.

More recent history of Mother's Day dates back to the 1600s in England. A Mothering Sunday was celebrated every year on the fourth Sunday of Lent to honor every mother. Children brought gifts and flowers for their mothers after a prayer service in church, to honor Virgin Mary. Servants, apprentices, and other employees who were away from home were actually encouraged by their employers to visit and honor their mothers.

The annual custom of celebrating Mothering Sunday almost died out by the 19th century. The day came to be celebrated again, however, after World War II, when American servicemen brought back the custom and used it as an occasion for increasing sales.

Activist and social worker Mrs. Anna Marie Reeves Jarvis inspired her daughter Anna Jarvis to express her desire that someday all mothers should be recognized and celebrated. Anna Jarvis is recognized as the initial founder of Mother's Day in the United States, although she never married nor had any children. She is known as the Mother of Mother's Day, an appropriate title for someone who worked so hard to see the day of honoring mothers being celebrated.

When her mother died in 1905, she made a pact with herself to fulfill her mother's wish of having a celebrated day for mothers around the world. Anna sent carnation flowers to honor her mother, as they were her mother's favorite flower and felt that they symbolized a mother's pure love. Anna, along with supporters, wrote letters to people who had the power to make the official declaration of a Mother's Day holiday. By 1911, Mother's Day was celebrated in almost every state and on May 8, 1914, President Wilson signed a Joint Resolution which designated the second Sunday of May as Mother's Day.

Today, Mother's Day is celebrated in several countries including US, UK, India, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Australia, Mexico, Canada, China, Japan and Belgium. The celebration has become commercialized to a great extent. The day has become so popular that, in several countries, phone lines experience maximum traffic. Also the tradition of giving flowers, cards, chocolates, and other gifts has been adopted for Mother's Day. Florists, card manufacturers, and gift sellers see huge business potential on this holiday to make money through advertising campaigns.

Whatever you give, the day is not meant for commercialism or to make money. The day is meant as a day to thank all mothers. To thank them for their love, their support, and for, quite simply, being a mother. So this Sunday, on Mother's Day, show your mother the love she deserves.

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