Not a Hallmark Holiday…

cardcard2Mother’s Day is just around the corner. I had a friend just tell me he spent $29 on three Mother’s Day cards. $29! I thought to myself, if those greeting card companies truly did make this stuff up, why that was pure genius! Mother’s day is second only to Christmas in gift buying and giving. But alas, they did not.

No, Mother’s Day can be traced all the way back to ancient mythology with the spring celebration of the “Mother of the Gods,” motherrheaRhea. When Christianity was introduced, they celebrated Mary, the mother of Christ on a day called Mothering Sunday.  It soon expanded to include all mothers in the celebration.

In England, during this time, many young people had to go away from their home for work. They were encouraged to go home and see their mothers and families on this day. It was customary to have a cake, called the mothering cake for the festivities. They usually did this on the last Sunday of Lent. It is still celebrated in much the same way today. The cake has been renamed the mother4“Simnel” cake.  According to legend a man named Simon and his wife, Nell argued over whether the cake should be baked or boiled. Funny how traditions are born. You can read more about Mothering Sunday and even get a recipe for the cake via a link here.

Mother’s Day was not celebrated in America until well after the north/south civil war. Due to constant hardship the early settlers had let the celebration die out. The modern Mother’s day much of the whole world celebrates today can be contributed to one Appalachian housewife. Anne Marie Reeves Jarvis worked diligently and saved countless lives after the civil war in her campaign for more sanitary conditions. Through what she called Mother Friendship Clubs she taught sanitary nursing practices as well as worked to reconcile the two opposing sides.

carnations1Her daughter Anna Jarvis remained unmarried and looked after her mother in her dying days. Upon her death Anna began work with friends and family to proclaim a day of national recognition and honor for all mothers, alive or deceased. The notion took hold and spread across the nation after a May church service was held in honor of Mrs. Jarvis. At the service Anna laid out white carnations, (her mother’s favorite). After the service she gave each person one of the carnations as a memento of the day. There in lies the modern tradition of the carnation.

Not long after, president Woodrow Wilson declared the 2nd Sunday in May a national holiday for honoring our mothers and motherly like. Ironically Ms. Jarvis became a major opponent to the holiday when she saw the secular commercialism the intended religious, reflective day of remembrance took on. $29 on three cards, I’d say she would be quite disgusted today.

Still, Mother’s day is celebrated with zeal. The idea has swept the globe and most countries today celebrate in one form or another. Thailand celebrates on August 12th the “Mother of all Thai People,” Queen Sirikit. They celebrate with colorful lights and parades. Mother’s are given jasmine and they in turn bless their children. America still carries on the tradition of the carnation, as well as the more commercial gift giving. When a carnation is given today it can be either red/pink or white. The red signifying your mother is still alive, white if passed on. It is also customary to lay white carnations on mother’s graves for this day.

Here are a few ideas to honor your mother with this weekend.

  • Breakfast in bed
  • A luxurious spa day
  • Give the gift of memories (creative scrapbook, photo collage, etc)
  • A bouquet of her favorite flowers
  • Or try your hand at whipping up a homemade honey, citrus, sugar scrub she will love!

I hope you all have a great Mother’s Day filled with lots of loving memories. If you are alone or your own mother has passed away try to find someone who deserves the extra credit and celebrate with them. It is a day to honor our beloved women in our lives!

Please let me know your unique and fun ways you plan to celebrate this year. I look forward to hearing from you! Now go surprise your mom with all the research you have put in to her special day 😉


Other websites credited for information are:


One response to “Not a Hallmark Holiday…

  1. Pingback: Mother’s Day (USA & Ireland, Australia & NZ) | hungarywolf

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