Mother’s Day—the day Mom is celebrated for taking care of us the rest of the year. Before you take her out for breakfast or Sunday brunch, before you rush to the stores to buy her that special gift, before you take her out to an event or the movies, the celebration of Mom began with ancient myths connected.
Ancient myths say that Greeks and Romans celebrated Mother's Day by honoring Goddess Cybele, personifying Great Mother Earth and Goddess of fertility, and Rhea, mother of the Gods. In 250 B.C., ancient Romans celebrated a spring festival called Hilaria. This was dedicated to a mother goddess named, Cybele, on the Ides of March. Her followers would make offerings at the temple, hold parades, play games and also have masquerades. It lasted three days.
Social activist Julia Ward Howe thought the idea of a day centering on mothers to the United States after the Civil War. But her idea was much different from the flowers-and-hugs we connect with Mom. Howe wrote the Mother's Day Proclamation and envisioned a Mother's Day for Peace, in which women would protested against war. Some groups still observe the holiday like this, one of the most famous being a huge crowd of women who gathered outside the Lawrence Livermore Library at the University of California in 1982 to protest nuclear weapons.
The Mother's Day we celebrate today was started by Anna Jarvis in the early 1900s. She got Congress to recognize the day, founded the Mother's Day International Association and even trademarked the phrase "Mother's Day." She was inspired by her own mother, who called for Mother’s Work Days, for improvement on conditions of soldiers on both side of the Civil War. Interestingly, a decade after she got it recognized, Ann Jarvis came to despise it for commercialization, even was arrested in 1948 for protesting for its demise.
Today, Mother's Day is the third most popular holiday in the world, second to only Christmas and Easter. Pink and red carnations are given to mother’s that are still alive, while white ones are for those that have passed away. And the single carnation is the traditional gift most given. There had been a study to determine why mothers loved getting flowers. Conducted by Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, she concluded that flowers affect human behavior, making people feel more compassionate toward others and happier in general when fresh-cut blooms are around.
What are you doing for Mom this Mother’s Day?