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  Weekly Feature: (May 2, 2002)


Mother's Day
's Weekly Feature


In Canada, the United States, and in several other countries, Motherís Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. It is a day when we honour our mothers with cards, gifts, and flowers.

The earliest Mother's Day celebrations took place in ancient times, with spring festivals dedicated to mother goddesses. In the ancient Greek empire, spring festivals honoured Rhea, wife of God Cronus and mother of the gods and goddesses. In ancient Rome, Mother's Day-like festivals were dedicated to the worship of Cybele, another mother goddess. Ceremonies in Cybeleís honour began some 250 years before Christ was born.

In the 1600ís, England began observing Mothering Sunday, a day to honour the mothers of England. A particularly significant custom in the early Mothering Sundays involved men and women who were apprentices or servants working and residing far away from home. These men and women returned home on Mothering Sunday, bringing to their mothers small gifts and a special cake called ďmothering cake.Ē Mothering Sunday observances have since evolved to resemble the modern celebrations of Mother's Day. Still celebrated on the 4th Sunday of Lent (the 40 day period leading up to Easter), Mothering Sunday is also called Mid-Lent Sunday.

There are conflicting accounts of the history of Motherís Day in North America, a history with origin in the United States. Most sources give the credit for Motherís Day to Anna M. Jarvis from Philadelphia, who began a campaign in 1907 to establish a national Motherís Day. Following the death of her mother, Anna missed her mother greatly and wanted to pay tribute to her. She felt children often neglected to appreciate their mother enough while their mother was still alive. She hoped Mother's Day would increase respect for parents and strengthen family bonds.

In 1908, Ms. Jarvis convinced her motherís church in West Virginia to celebrate Motherís Day on the second anniversary of her motherís death, the second Sunday of May. This was the first Motherís Day observance. By 1911, every American state had its own observances. By then, other areas celebrating Mother's Day included Canada, China, Japan, South America and Africa. The Mother's Day International Association was incorporated in 1912, with the purpose of furthering meaningful observations of Mother's Day.

Consequent to the continuing efforts by Ms. Jarvis and her supporters, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, in 1914, announced Motherís Day as a national holiday to be held each year on the second Sunday of May. While many countries celebrate their own Mother's Day at different times throughout the year, countries such as Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Australia, and Belgium celebrate Mother's Day on the second Sunday of May, as in Canada and the U.S.

As you celebrate Motherís Day today, be sure to remember its origin and purpose. Pay tribute to your mother with honour, love and respect. Take care to shower her with special attention on Motherís Day. Visit her. Phone her. Send her a card. Give her flowers. Hug her. Get her something sweet, such as gourmet chocolates or a special cake. Buy her a special gift, something you know she's been wanting. Be sure to remind her of how very special she is to you.

Wishing a Happy Motherís Day to every mother!

For reference and further detail, check these sites:

Welcome to Motherís Day on the Net

All About Motherís Day

Motherís Day History and Customs

Suite University on Motherís Day


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