Throughout the U.S. and Canada, we set aside the second Sunday to celebrate mothers and motherhood. But have you ever stopped to ask why?
Mother's Day has its roots in ancient Greek and Rome. Greeks honored the goddess Rhea, mother of many Greek deities, in spring celebrations that coincided with the lambing season, flowers in bloom, new life.
Romans dedicated one of their spring celebrations to another mother goddess, Cybele. This tradition was continued by early Christians who dedicated the fourth Sunday in Lent to the Virgin Mary and, by extension, to all mothers, on Mothering Sunday.
But Mother's Day, as we know it, has far more recent roots. One Sunday in May of 1908, Anne Jarvis brought armloads of her mother's favorite flowers, carnations, to her church in honor of her mother, the late social activist Anna Marie Reeves-Jarvis. That day, every mother in the congregation received two carnations. A year later, the church repeated the celebration in honor of all mothers...and a tradition was born. This day of special recognition was so popular that Woodrow Wilson made it a national holiday in 1914.
Today, carnations are still associated with Mother's Day. White, to honor those who've passed on. Red or pink to honor the mom's who are still with us. We celebrate this special day with cards, gifts, by getting Mom out of the kitchen and taking her out to eat (my favorite part).
To my own mom, and to moms everywhere, I wish you a Happy Mother's Day!