Today I got a wonderful Mother's day present ~ I learned about the true origin of Mother's Day and I have been blown away by the story.
I thought that this holiday had been started, or at least fostered, by Hallmark and the world of commercialization. But that is false. This holiday DID NOT begin to get people to buy stuff!!!!
Mother's Day began when Julia Ward Howe (an amazing woman ~ a prominent American abolitionist, social activist, and poet) wrote the Mother’s Day Proclamation, written in response to the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. She asked for women to stand up for ending war.
"...In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly askThat a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace."
(The full text is at the bottom, thanks to Code Pink)
The fact that this proclamation rings achingly true 142 years later is not lost on me!! So much violence rages in this world ~ in the name of power, justice and even peace-keeping.
Later the holiday was used to help reunite families after the Civil War, lead by a West Virginia women’s group led by Anna Reeves Jarvis. "After Jarvis’ death, her daughter began a campaign for the creation of an official Mother’s Day in honor of peace. Devoting much of her life to the cause, it wasn’t until 1914 when Woodrow Wilson signed it into national observance in 1914." (from the article on Nation of Change's site.) The article goes on to say that Jarvis actively worked against the commercialization of the day, but alas, here we are!
But that does not mean we are need to keep 'buying' into this commercial version of Mother's day. We can change the focus of Mother's Day. Just as Julia Ward Howe called for women and mothers to 'arise' for peace in 1870, we can 'arise' today, this year and next year and demand PEACE.
We can take this day back from the marketplace and make it a celebration of PEACE. I believe Peace on Earth would be the best gift to any mom!!
I have always loved the idea of celebrating Mothers, motherly love and the nurturing concept of TLC and the desire for PEACE only adds to that equation.
So . . PEACE!