And what better present than a family getaway? Check out suggestions for Mother's Day getaways. But first: some background about Mother's Day.
Not Just Greeting-Card Fluff?
Ever had a lurking suspicion that Mother's Day is an invented holiday dreamed up to sell greeting cards?
In fact, Mother's Day has a laudable history. Leaving aside ancient Greek and Roman practices and "mothering Sunday" celebrated by early Christians, modern Mother's Day dates back to the US in the 19th century.
In 1872, Julia Ward Howe -- a reformer who wrote the words to the Battle Hymn of the Republic-- suggested the idea of a Mothers Day dedicated to peace*. Her idea never caught fire... But on May 12 1907, one particular daughter was determined to pay tribute to her mother.
A Tale of Altruism, and Daughterly Love
Anna M. Jarvis was a schoolteacher whose mother-- Anna Maria Reeves Jarvis-- had organized Mothers' Work Clubs in West Virginia towns before the Civil War. During the War, she'd urged those Clubs to declare neutrality and help both Union and Confederate soldiers. Later, she organized a Mothers' Friendship Day to help heal the post-war scars and animosities. (She lost four children during the war, herself.)
That May day in 1907, daughter Anna asked her preacher to speak in her mother's memory at a church service. The next year, the church bell was rung 72 times, once for each year of her mother's life. Anna junior then mounted a campaign to create a formal holiday honoring mothers: she wrote countless letters and lobbied congressmen; and in 1910, West Virginia became the first state with an official Mother's Day. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed a national holiday.
The Worm Turns...
A mere decade later, however, Anna Jarvis bemoaned the commercialization of the holiday. "This is not what I intended!" she declared. "I wanted it to be a day of sentiment, not profit!" In 1923, she filed a lawsuit to stop a festival; she was even arrested for disturbing the peace at a war mothers' gathering. Before she died in 1948 at age 84, she told reporters that she was sorry she'd ever started Mother's Day.
Nonetheless, because of her early idealism, Mother's Day is celebrated around the world. And Anna's wish for a "day of sentiment" is still the origin and heart beneath the commercial fluff.
* See a short video about Julia Ward Howe's original concept of a Mother's Day for Peace.
continue on, to 2010 Mother's Day Getaway Ideas...