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The celebration of the spirit of Mother’s Day dates back to the time of ancient Greeks which was the first civilization to honor motherhood through festivities for Goddess Rhea, the mother of gods. This was later followed by the early Christians who honored Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, on the fourth Sunday of Lent and called it ‘Mother’s festival.
This festival soon gained recognition in the years to come, as a religious order that included honoring of all mothers and was christened ‘Mothering Sunday.’ The English colonists settled in America discontinued the tradition of Mothering Sunday because of lack of time. People working out of their homes were expected to return to the "mother" church (the spiritual power that gave them life and protected them from harm). It also became an occasion for family reunions.
In 1872 Julia Ward Howe organized a day for mothers dedicated to peace. It is a landmark in the history of Mother's Day. The United States of America and many countries around the world now celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May.
In 1907, Anna M. Jarvis (1864-1948), a Philadelphia schoolteacher, began a movement to set up a national Mother's Day in honor of her mother, Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis. Jarvis solicited the help of hundreds of legislators and prominent businessmen to herald a special day to honor mothers. The first Mother's Day observance was a church service honoring Anna's mother. Anna handed out her mother's favorite flowers, the white incarnations, on the occasion as they represent sweetness, purity, and patience. Anna's hard work finally paid off in the year 1914, when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as a national holiday in honor of mothers.
In the years to come, Mother's day has become very popular and so has the tradition of gifting.
Of all the gifts best suiting this occasion, The Carnations have come to stand as a symbolic representation for Mother’s Day, since Anna Jarvis delivered 500 of them at its first celebration in 1908. This was followed by many religious celebrations in the honor of mothers and motherhood in various parts of the world. Wearing a carnation as a brooch or in the hair on Mother’s Day, is also a very popular custom in many countries. Carnation is believed to be the most favorite flower of Anna Jarvis’ mother. The custom now is wearing a red carnation if the mother is living or a white one if she has passed away.
Written by:Betty Miller