I wanted to wish all the moms a very happy day. I hope that you all are doing something special with you families. Me? Well, I'm heading over to Freckle's house for a celebratory BBQ. There will be lots of moms, dads and kids. It promises to be a good time...after all, there will be margaritas!
A friend forwarded this story about Mother's Day to me. She received it from her Rabbi, Daniel Isaak:
Though I have heard it claimed that Mother's Day must have been invented by Hallmark or alternatively by florists as a purely commercial venture, that is clearly not the case. The history that I discovered is far more interesting.
Julia Ward Howe, after authoring of the famous poem, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, became overwhelmed by the horrible effects of war. Not just the death and disease which killed and maimed the soldiers, but she worked with widows and orphans of soldiers on both sides of the Civil War. She became aware of the devastation, the economic crises and the economic restructuring of both North and South.
Distressed by the realities of war and convinced that peace was one of the two most important causes of the world (the other being equality in its many forms), and understanding that Europe was then engaged in its own Franco-Prussian War, she called in 1870 for women to rise up and oppose war in all its forms. Calling it a Mother's Day for Peace, she wanted women to come together across national lines, to recognize what we hold in common rises above what divides us and to urge us all to commit to finding peaceful resolutions to conflicts.
In calling for a Mother's Day of Peace, she was influenced by Anna Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker who in 1858 had attempted to improve sanitation through what she called Mother's Work Days. Jarvis organized women throughout the Civil War to work for better sanitary conditions for both sides, and in 1868 she began to work to reconcile Union and Confederate neighbors.
Anna Jarvis' daughter, also named Anna Jarvis, knowing of both her mother's efforts and those of Julia Ward Howe began her own campaign to found a memorial day for women. The first such Mother's Day was celebrated in West Virginia in 1907 in the church where the elder Anna Jarvis had taught Sunday School. The custom spread eventually to 45 states. The holiday was declared by states officially in 1912 and in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson declared the first national Mother's Day.
In her effort to create a Mother's Day for Peace Julia Ward Howe wrote a poem. We will distribute that poem at services this evening and read it together as the fight to end the horrors of war continues in our day.
If you want a totally hysterical read about Mother's Day, head over to Heathen Family Revival and follow the link to the NPR Mother's Day story.