Her-story begins in Greek myth and lore during its golden days. This was the time as the story tells the great titan Cronus and his wife Rhea ruled the universe. Their union birthed into the inhabitants of Mt. Olympus and therefore she is referred to as the mother of all Olympians. The Greeks honored her in lavish ancient festivals every year in spring, which is also the time when bloom of all harvests on the earth begins anew.

In 250 BC, the Romans also fêted their mother goddess and this 3 day celebration was called Hilaria or the Ides of March.

As Christianity spread throughout the European lands, this again blended to celebrate the Mother Church. Alluding to the influence as the spiritual power as the giver of life and protector from harm. Some historians theorized that this actually was an adapted from the ancient traditions so instead of having a festival a Church visit became a norm on this day.

In the 1600’s, the early Christians established this day to give honor and praise to the venerable Mother Mary, the mother of Christ. But soon this was expanded by a religious order to cover all mothers and referred to as Mothering Sunday. Many of English commoners were destitute at this time and good employment was to be had by servitude to the households of the rich. Geographically challenging as most of these were, the servants were still encouraged to take a leave and spend time at home. For those who could make it, special cakes called the “mothering cake” were taken home to make the event special; and these were decorated with wildflowers that were collected along the long way home.

For the rich, the celebratory dinner after going with entire family to the Church, was of rich roast or veal with furmety, a dish of wheat grains boiled in sweet milk, sugared and spiced. As queen of the feast everything was done for her happiness. Soon enough, the changing social trends for the English during the dawn of the Industrial Age changed these customs for “Mothering Sunday”.

It was a busy time for the nation and when even the American colonists could not afford to celebrate on Sundays due to the lack of time and so its practiced ceased.

In the 1870’s an American social activist named Julia Ward Howe began a one-woman peace drive for a moving appeal to all women to crusade against the horrifying carnage of the American Civil and Franco-Prussian wars. She spearheaded the enactment of Mother’ Peace Day which was carefully celebrated for 10 years.

But it is an important note that it was largely the influence of another American woman Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis that started it all for Howe. During the Civil War she organized women from both sides for better sanitary conditions which actually led to her reconciliatory work later on for the Union and Confederate neighbors. This became a lifetime cause for Jarvis and this dedication and zeal prompted her daughter Anna Jarvis to remain single to take care of her mother until her passing on May 9, 1905. Both Anna and her sister Elsinore missed their mother so much and felt that children often neglect their mothers as they went by their daily lives.

By 1907 Anna gathered enough support and campaigned with friends and other inspired people to start a Mother’s Day to honor all Mothers both living and dead. She had hoped that this day would amplify respect for parents and reinforce family ties.

On May 10, 1908 a church service for the late Ann Jarvis set the stage for the current Mother’s Day practices in observance of motherhood. This spread like wildfire to all the States and by May 9, 1914 it was declared by presidential decree that all 2nd Sundays be observed as Mother’s Day.

This convention soon spread across the world, crossed all borders and even faiths. This is the day to acknowledge our mothers with feasts, flowers and gifts for their indelible contribution in our lives. Let’s celebrate.

Author's Bio: 

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