Sunday 11 May 2014

Mother's Day - 100 years of celebration

This year marks a century 
since Mother’s Day received national recognition in the United States. 

"All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother." 
-- Abraham Lincoln


In the United States, Mother's Day was originally suggested 
by poet and abolitionist activist Julia Ward Howe.

In 1870, after witnessing the carnage of the American Civil War 
and the start of the Franco-Prussian War, 
she wrote the original Mother's Day Proclamation 
calling upon the women of the world to unite for peace.
This "Mother's Day Proclamation" would plant the seed for
what would eventually become a national holiday.

After writing the proclamation, Howe had it translated into many
languages and spent the next two years of her life distributing it
and speaking to women leaders all over the world for this cause.

 In her book  Reminiscences, Howe wrote,

"Why do not the mothers of mankind interfere in these matters to prevent the
waste of that human life of which they alone bear and know the cost?" 

Her activity on this proclamation initiated annual 
"Mother's Day" gatherings in Boston, Massachusetts and elsewhere.

In 1907, thirty-seven years after the proclamation was written,
women's rights activist Anna Jarvis began campaigning for the
establishment of a nationally observed Mother’s Day holiday. 

File:Anna jarvis.jpg
Anna Marie Jarvis 
(May 1, 1864, Webster, West Virginia 
– November 24, 1948, West Chester, Pennsylvania

Her mother, an Appalachian homemaker, had worked to develop
better sanitary conditions for both sides in the Civil War, and to
reconcile Union and Confederate neighbors after the war.
Jarvis sought to honor her mother’s work and vision, 
and in 1914, four years after Howe's death, 
President Woodrow Wilson declared
Mother's Day as a national holiday on the second Sunday of May. 
(info and text here)


Going back to ancient times 
there were spring celebrations in Greece in honour of Rhea, 
the mother of the gods.

File:Rhea MKL1888.png 

The England of the 1800s declared that Mothering Sunday be marked midway through Lent. 
It not only honoured English mothers but many servants benefited from it
 because they were given the day off to visit their mothers 
— this was most welcome in a period when they had little free time.


 "There is no velvet so soft as a mother's lap, 
no rose as lovely as her smile, path so flowery as that imprinted with her footsteps."
-- Archibald Thompson.


A Mother’s Day Proclamation
Julia Ward Howe, 1870

"Arise then...women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!

Say firmly:
"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs." 

From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe our dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace...
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God -

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at so
me place deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace."


In reminiscence to my mother:

her favorite place

her favorite rose.


  “A mother is the truest friend we have, 
when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; 
when adversity takes the place of prosperity; 
when friends desert us; 
when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, 
 and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, 
and cause peace to return to our hearts.”
― Washington Irving


Reminiscences by Julia Ward Howe
available at amazon here