“A Mother is one
who can take the place of all others
but whose place no one else can take.”
~ Wise Old Irish Words
Did you know that celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals to honour the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele. In the Christian church the clearest modern precedent for Mother’s Day is the festival known as “Mothering Sunday, which is still celebrated in the UK.
A precursor to Mother’s Day came from the abolitionist and suffragette Julia Ward Howe (an American who wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic) in 1870. Howe wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” a call to action that asked mothers to unite in promoting world peace. In 1873 she campaigned for a “Mother’s Peace Day” to be celebrated every June 2.
The official Mother’s Day holiday that we celebrate in North America began in the 1900s in the US when Anna Jarvis, daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis, wanted to create a special day for mothers as a way of honouring the sacrifices mothers made for their children.
More recently Mother’s Day has also been a date for launching political or feminist causes. In 1968 Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King Jr., used Mother’s Day to host a march in support of underprivileged women and children. In the 1970s women’s groups also used the holiday as a time to highlight the need for equal rights and access to childcare.
No matter what you do for your mother, grandmother, step-mother, mother-in-law or the mother figures in your life, do it with gusto and exuberant love. It will mean the world to her. You may want to give her this blessing:
“May you always know… The fragrance of flowers, The feel of the sun on your shoulders and always – the warmth of your child’s love.” An Irish Mother’s Blessing