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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day has a long history dating back to the days before the card and candy companies gave it a boost

       (Looking back in my old files, I came across this Mother's Day column from several years back...thought readers might enjoy...phil)

        Obviously, my wife isn’t my mother, but on Mother’s Day she expects special treatment from her husband.
All occasions like birthdays are important to Phyllis. For my part, I would be happy to forget them, but not Phyllis. If you put candles on my cake, the volunteer fire department would be headed my way.
While headed for the checkout counter on a fishing trip to Kentucky Lake last week, I was lucky. Another fisherman (I suppose he was as he looked pretty grubby like me) was picking out a Mother’s Day card. “Great idea”, I thought. “I better buy one too. That way, I won’t be racing out somewhere Saturday night or early Sunday morning looking for one.”
My Mother’s Day gift for Phyllis was a trip to see the kids and grandkids. For us that is about a 400 mile round trip, but I figured it was a cheap price to pay since I had been gone on a guy’s fishing trip the week before.
However, it started me thinking. Who created Mother’s Day anyway? Was it Hallmark?
Mothers Day can be loosely linked back to ancient Greece when in the spring a celebration honored Rhea, the Mother of the Gods. 
Then in the 1600’s in England, Mothering Sunday on the fourth Sunday of Lent honored English moms. Also during this time, many of England’s poor worked as indentured servants and lived at the home of their employers some distance from their families. On this one day, many of the employers gave their servants the day off and encouraged them to travel home and spend some time with their mothers. 
Some baked a special cake for the occasion called a mothering cake. Just what this was made of seems unclear. It may have been made from what ingredients were available at the time, however apparently it was highly decorated. The mother reportedly prepared for the visitors a dish of furmety, similar to rice pudding, but made with wheat instead of rice.
Julia Ward Howe, who wrote the words to the Battle Hymn of the Republic, in 1872 first suggest a day of peace and held Mother’s Day meetings every year in Boston.
A woman named Ana Jarvis in 1907 started an effort for a national Mother’s Day and convinced her church in Grafton, W. Va., to celebrate Mother’s Day on the second anniversary of her mother’s death which was the second Sunday in May. She and other women wrote to pastor’s in other churches and the celebration spread.
By 1911, Mother’s Day was celebrated in every state and in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson announced the day as a national holiday. It also is celebrated in a number of other countries, but in most cases on different days of the year.
Ana Jarvis became disenchanted with the commercialization of the day and even filed suit to try to stop it. She eventually died unhappily in a mental hospital and proclaimed she wished she had never started the day. However, the day lives on.
It is good to honor mothers. They have tough jobs raising kids and husbands.

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