Earliest Mother’s Day
Long before the US celebrated Mother’s Day as a national holiday, ancient Greeks and Romans honored mothers with celebrations and gifts. Spring is the season of rebirth, and the Greeks had an annual spring festival dedicated to the maternal goddesses. Rhea, the wife of Cronus, was said to be the mother of many Greek deities, and therefore was much revered and honored. Long before the birth of Jesus, the Romans dedicated spring festivals and celebrations to the mother goddess, Cybele. Mother’s Day Has Its Roots in Ancient Greece GreekReporter.com
Christian Celebration of Mothers
In the early 1600s, England initiated a special day to honor the Virgin Mary, which was held on the fourth Sunday of Lent. A special church service was held, with prayers of thanks and love offered up to her. Afterwards, the children of the congregation would present gifts and flowers to their own mothers to express their love, and to show appreciation for the care and devotion given to them. Mother’s Day History – History & Origins of Mothers Day
First Proclamation of Mothers Day In US
Julia Ward Howe was a well-known activist for international peace and women’s rights. Extremely angered over the destruction and deaths resulting from the Civil War, she made great efforts for a women’s “peace proclamation”, urging women to unite and speak out against war. In 1872, she traveled to London, England, to promote this, calling for a “Mother’s Day of Peace” to be celebrated on June 2 .
She diligently campaigned for this to become a national holiday, and although it was observed for about 10 years, it was never made official. It gradually died out as she began concentrating more on women’s rights. Even though the day was never proclaimed a holiday, it was, however, the basis for it to become so. Mother’s Day Proclamation, Julia Ward Howe
Anna Jarvis Fulfills Mother’s Dream
Grafton, WV, is the home of Mother’s day founder, Anna Jarvis. One Sunday, her mother concluded a church lesson on “Mother’s of The Bible”, and commented she wished there were a memorial dedicated to all mothers, living or dead. Anna never forgot this, and after her mother died on May 9, 1905, she led a crusade to fulfill her mother’s wish.
Starting with Andrews Church in Grafton, she asked her mother’s co-workers to organize a Mother’s Day memorial committee, and to pass a resolution to have it approved. It was, and on the second anniversary of her mother’s death, a memorial service was held at the church for all mothers.
Anna then campaigned vigorously to make this a national holiday, writing hundreds of letters to government officials and business leaders. A prominent philanthropist, John Wanamaker of Philadelphia, offered his support, and she soon had a large following of influential people. The Founder of Mothers Day
Mother’s Day Becomes Official US National Holiday
Andrews Church officially proclaimed Mother’s Day to be observed on the second Sunday of May, and Wanamaker held a Mother’s Day service in his store’s huge auditorium in Philadelphia. Although the seating capacity was 5000, 15,000 attended.
By 1909, 45 states were observing Mother’s day. The first official proclamation was issued by WV Governor William E. Glasscock. Alabama and Texas followed suit with their own proclamations.
In May, 1914, a resolution to make this a national holiday was passed by Congress, approved by President Woodrow Wilson, and proclaimed by Secretary of State William Jennings Bryant. History.com This Day in History – 5-9-1914