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Mother's Day: More than a Commercial Holiday

Origins of this special day date to pre-Civil War times.

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Type: Article
Resource: GenWeekly
Prepared by: Melissa Slate
Word Count: 358 (approx.)
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Today in this world of indifference to humanity and indifference to the sanctity of human life, there is a bright and shinning beacon of love and hope:Mother. A true Mother's heart can never bear indifference to the pain and suffering of her offspring. A mother will guard and protect her children as no other can. This Mother's Day is a good time to renew the story of its true origins.

In the 1850's, Anna Reeves Jarvis organized women's groups to campaign for sanitation and medicine for the poor. Her work continued during the Civil War, as she and her women's groups provided care for soldiers on both sides of the war, with no regard for their military affiliation. Her community service continued after the war ended in trying to unite the American people again as one Nation.

Julia Ward Howe, author of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic,"" began to organize Mother's Peace Day. Mother's Day for Peace was celebrated for the next 30 years on the 2nd day of June. However, the holiday did not receive status as a recognized holiday.

Ann Jarvis, daughter of Anna Reeves Jarvis, organized a campaign for a recognized holiday in memory of her Mother's tireless efforts to benefit women and humanity. Her persistence paid off, and Congress passed the Mother's Day resolution in 1914. Ann Jarvis is officially recognized as the founder of Mother's Day.

However, Mother's through the ages have had various forms of special recognition. England observed a holiday years ago called Mothering Sunday. It was a part of the annual celebration of Lent.

Perhaps a little-known tradition of Mother's day is the wearing of a carnation to honor your mother. A colored carnation indicates that the person's Mother is living and a white carnation represents that the person's Mother is deceased. Ann Jarvis is credited with this Mother's Day tradition as well.

This Mother's Day, as many a Mother's heart bleeds and longs for world peace, with their children continuing to serve in the military, let us join together in remembering the meanings upon which Mother's Day was founded. One day, perhaps, we be able to show example of a Mother's love for all humanity.

Source Information: GenWeekly, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2008.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.

*Effective May 2010, GenWeekly articles that are more than five years old no longer require a subscription for full access.

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