May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

Being a mother is a challenging job. As we celebrate Mother's Day, it is interesting to know how this centuries old tradition comes about.

The origin of Mother's Day can be traced back to the spring celebrations in ancient Greece. Celebrations were held in honour of Rhea, Mother of the Gods. During the 1600's, Christians in England celebrated a day to honour Mother Mary. The holiday was eventually expanded to include all mothers by a religious order and thus named as Mothering Sunday. At that time, most of the poor worked as servants for the wealthy. On this special day, servants would be have their day off and encouraged to return home to spend time with their mothers. Very often, a special cake called mothering cake will be bought.

With the passage fo time, this noble tradition ceased slowly due to war and colonist settlement. In the United States, Mother's day was first suggested after the American Civil War by social activist Julia Ward Howe. Howe was horrified by the carnage caused by the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. She tried to issue a manifesto for peace at the international peace conferences in London and Paris.

During the Franco-Prussian war in the 1870s, Howe began a one-woman peace crusade and made an impassioned "appeal to womanhood" to rise against war. She began promoting the idea of a "Mother's Day for Peace" to be celebrated on June 2, honoring peace, motherhood and womanhood.

Unfortunately, Howe failed in her attempt to get the formal recognition of a Mother's Day for Peace. Nevertheless, her remarkable contribution was never forgotten. To acknowledge Howe's achievements a stamp was issued in her honour in 1988.

Howe's idea was inspired by Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker who, starting in 1858, had attempted to improve sanitation through what she called "Mothers Friendship Day". Jarvis saved thousands of lives by teaching women in her Mothers Friendship Clubs the basics of nursing and sanitation.

It was Jarvis' daughter, Anna Jarvis however, who finally succeeded in introducing the Mother's Day that we celebrate today. Anna had spent many years looking after her ailing mother. When her mother died in Philadelphia on May 9, 1905, Anna missed her greatly. Anna felt children often neglected to appreciate their mother enough while the mother was still alive.
In 1907, Anna Jarvis took Howe's idea a step further and began to campaign for a nationally recognized Mother's Day. She persuaded her mother's church in Grafton, to celebrate Mother's day on the anniversary of Anna's mother's death which falls on the second Sunday in May. Hence, our Mother's Day holiday as it is now celebrated was born. Jarvis also began the tradition of wearing a carnation in honor or memory of our mothers where a coloured carnation is worn if your mother is still living, while is worn a white one if she is deceased.

Jarvis wrote letters to ministers, politicians and businessman in an effort to make Mother's Day a national event. By 1911, Mother's Day was being celebrated in almost every state in the country. On 9th of May 1914, President Woodrow Wilson officially proclaimed that Mother's Day would be a national holiday to be celebrated annually on the second Sunday in May.
Today, Mother's Day is a day honouring mothers where you acknowledge her contribution in your life and pay tribute to her. It is celebrated on various days in many places around the world.

Spending time with your mother is the best gift for mother's day. I tried something different this year which is to make sushi for my mum instead. Hehe.. The first few sushis was not that pretty. Nonetheless, I had a great mother and daughter time today making sushi. What comes from the heart is priceless.

Sushi .....

Japanese Potato Salad

Why not make everyday mother's day.

Happy Mothers' Day to all all mothers! Mum, I love you!

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