Thursday, May 10, 2018

Let's Remember Anna Jarvis on Mother's Day

May is a month of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and is named for the Greek Goddess Maia, who was identified with the Roman era goddess of fertility. It’s no surprise that May’s birthstone is the emerald, green in color, and emblematic of love and success. The lily of the valley and the common hawthorn are its symbolic birth flowers. For the majority of the population in the United States, May is best known for Mother’s Day, an official national holiday proclaimed by Woodrow Wilson in 1914.

How did it come about? It was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St. Andrews’s Methodist Church in West Virginia. She sought to make Mother’s Day a recognized holiday in the United States in 1905, when her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died. Ann Reeves Jarvis had been a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the Civil War and created Mother’s Day Work Clubs to address public health issues.

Ironically, in 1908, our U.S. Congress rejected a proposal to make Mother's Day an official holiday, joking that they would also have to proclaim a "Mother-in-law's Day. It should be mentioned that Congress at that time was comprised of all men until 1917, when Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first woman to serve in the House of Representatives.

 But Anna Jarvis didn’t give up, and by 1911, all the states had some sort of recognition for mothers in the month of May, many of them recognizing it as a local holiday. In 1912, Anna Jarvis trademarked the phrases "Second Sunday in May" and "Mother's Day,” and created the Mother's Day International Association. In his proclamation, President Wilson continued with the second Sunday of the month for the national and yearly celebration of Mother’s Day. 

To all the mothers of our nation and the international community, I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day.  May your day be cheerful, bright, and full of joy.

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