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History of Mothers Day
By Anne Harvester
The history of Mother's Day has a unique beginning, which has yielded a lovely holiday over time. Although it is celebrated worldwide, the festivities are held on different days of the year, depending on the holiday's origins in a particular country.
Mother's Day in the United States was started in 1870 by Julia Ward Howe, who is also remembered for having written the "Battle Hymn of the Republic." A social activist who was unhappy with the result of the American Civil War, namely, multitudes of war dead, she wrote a Mother's Day Proclamation, which was a call for women to do their part to shape United States political policies and help to bring peace to the war-ravaged country. In the United States the holiday of Mother's Day was not officially practiced until 1908, when Anna Jarvis, daughter of Ann Jarvis of Civil War reconciliation fame, started working for a memorial day for women. She started the tradition of flowers at Mother's Day, especially carnations. White carnations were worn in remembrance of a mother who had died, while pink ones were donned to honor a living mother. After this the idea of Mother's Day caught on, and President Woodrow Wilson named it a national holiday in 1914. It has been celebrated annually ever since.
Ancient cultures also celebrated several holidays based around the concept of a mother. The Greeks had a celebration in the honor of the mother of the gods, called Rhea, while the Romans held festivities honoring Cybele the mother goddess. Celtic cultures held a feast for the goddess Brigid in the spring of the year.
In Britain, Mother's Day also had roots in the church. It is also known as "Mothering Sunday," and was celebrated three weeks before Easter. Scholars believe it refers to the practice of paying a visit to one's mother church every year, and in this way families were reunited for a holiday.
Mother's Day can be celebrated on several different dates, depending on which country is holding the celebration. Many countries, including the U.S., Croatia, Taiwan, and Venezuela celebrate the holiday on the second Sunday in May, while it can range from any date or month from February all the way into December based on the geographical location.
No matter where in the world you celebrate, be sure to offer your mother a lovely Mother's Day gift to show your love and appreciation. Thoughtful Mother's Day gifts include special items she enjoys, such as sweets, or other gift items such as luxury soaps and bubble baths that will be sure to delight her. Nothing says "I love you" like personalized Mother's Day gifts. She will be thrilled that you remembered her on her special day.