Mothers Day celebrates the Lady of the family

April showers bring May flowers and so the adage goes. May conjures up green grass, blooming flowers, bushes and trees and the heralding of late spring and early summer. It is also the month we observe Mother’s Day, a celebration recognizing mothers and childbirth dating back to ancient times and rituals.

 In ancient Greece, revelers worshipped Cybele, mother of Greek gods with festivals. Ancient Romans had the festival called Matronalia, celebrating Juno the goddess of childbirth. In Europe, there were specific Sundays honoring motherhood and Catholicism accepted the 4th Sunday during Lent to recognize and praise the Virgin Mary and the mother church or main church in the area.

 Mother’s Day has more modern connections but those celebrations during ancient times set the premise that, “mothers, whether earthly, mythological, heavenly or otherwise, should be celebrated. Julia Ward Howe organized a day in 1872 for mother’s dedicated to peace. She did this 12 years after penning The Battle Hymn of the Republic. Her hope by bringing mothers together was to be able to lesson the brutality of the Civil War by mothers pleading with mothers as sons were killing sons. 

In 1907, Ann Jarvis, a schoolteacher began to organize a mother’s day in memory of her own mother and honor peace. The first recognition of such a holiday in the states was a church service honoring Anna’s mother and celebrated in two communities, at Andrews Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia and another church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. White carnations were used to celebrate the memories of deceased mothers and pink and red carnations were worn or carried by those present.

 In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson made the second Sunday in May officially a U.S. holiday, Mother’s Day, honoring all mothers.


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