Ladies and Gentlemen, it is time. Time for what you might ask? Time to pay homage to dear old mum.
Yes, that’s right. As the one who always brings you a short history of nearly everything, I, The Why Kid, am actually quite a softie; a softie whom dearly loves and treasures her Mama, and wants the whole wide world to know about it.
As we have crossed, or should I say sprung across the line dividing April and May, we reach the month that rightly begins with “M”…for Mother’s Day.
Though Mother’s Day has become an international affair, one that is celebrated on various days of various seasons, I am simply curious to know where it derived its origin from here in America. Seeing as how most other countries have taken their cue from us on this particular holiday, I think it only fair to zero in here on the homeland.
According to my research, here in the US, we annually celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May. The first attempts at creating an official holiday for mothers was started by a woman named Julia Ward Howe in 1870. Howe, an early feminist, believed that it was the women’s responsibility to shape society on a political level. Therefore, she wrote a pacifist reaction to what she was seeing in the American Civil War entitled “Mother’s Day Proclamation.” Though her efforts didn’t quite create the Mother’s Day we currently celebrate, it was a start.
Later, in the 1880s and 1890s, several more attempts were made to create an official holiday, yet none seemed to make it past the local level. It wasn’t until 1908 in Grafton, West Virginia that a woman by the name of Anna Jarvis finally succeeded.
In effort to fulfill her mother’s dream of creating an annual celebration for all mothers, Jarvis enlisted the help of a wealth merchant in Philadelphia named John Wanamaker. Wanamaker, through his financial contributions, helped Jarvis in promoting her holiday until it finally reached the desk of President Woodrow Wilson. It was President Wilson that finally made declared in an official American holiday in 1914.
Though Anna Jarvis eventually ended up opposing her self-created holiday once it reached “Hallmark Holiday” status, it still thrives to this day, and continues to be one of the biggest profit days for flowers, greeting cards, and long-distant phone calls. Not to mention, Mother’s Day evokes the highest attendance in churchgoing, third only to Christmas Eve and Easter.
If you ask me, Mothers are GREATLY deserving of their own holiday. It doesn’t matter whether you have wonderful relationships or estranged relationships; it is because of them that you are simply even able to read this rambling. So, give thanks. It’s because of Mom that you’re here.
I love you Mom,
The Why Kid.
Photo credit: Christy Turlington — CK Eternity Fragrance by Bruce Weber