Mother’s Day is a festival derived from the custom of mother worship in ancient Greece. Formal mother worship, with ceremonies to Cybele, or Rhea, the Great Mother of the Gods, were performed on the Ides of March throughout Asia Minor. With the coming of Christianity, this developed into worship of “Mother Church,” the celebration occurring on mid-Lent Sunday, when children returned home with gifts for parents, especially the mother.
In the United States, the thought of “Mother’s Day” originated with Anna M. Jarvis (1864-1948) of Philadelphia. The idea came to her when she was asked by the superintendent of the Sunday School in the Virginia town, in which her deceased mother had long been the moving spirit, to arrange a memorial service. With the carrying out of this sacred duty, in 1908, she came to this realization: “the growing lack of tender consideration for absent mothers among worldly-minded, busy, grown-up children; the thoughtless neglect of home ties and of the loving consideration, engendered by the whirl and pressure of modern life; the lack of respect and deference to parents among children of the present generation; and the need of a reminder of the loving, unselfish mother, living or dead, and also to those who never gave birth but were “mothers” to others”. At this memorial service for her mother on May 10, 1908, Miss Jarvis gave a carnation (her favorite flower) to each person who attended. Within the next few years, the idea of a day to honor mothers gained popularity, and Mother’s Day was observed in a number of large cities in the United States.
On May 8, 1914, by Act of Congress, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May, a national day, to be known as - Mother’s Day. He established the day as a time for “public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of the country.” The white carnation, signifying sweetness, purity and endurance, was adopted as the floral emblem. Later, it became customary to wear a white carnation to honor deceased mothers, and a red carnation to honor living mothers.
There is a Jewish saying that, “God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers.”Abraham Lincoln, “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”John Quincy Adams, “All that I am, my mother made me.”Napoleon, “The future of the child is always the work of the mother.”Napoleon, “Let France have good mothers and she will have good sons.”