While countries around the world celebrate their own Mother’s Day at different times throughout the year, several countries, including the United States, Italy, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, and Turkey celebrate it on the second Sunday of May. In Thailand, for example, Mother’s Day is always celebrated in August on the birthday of the current queen, Sirikit. While another observance of Mother’s Day can be found in Ethiopia, where families gather each fall to sing songs and eat a large feast as part of Antrosht, a multi-day celebration honoring motherhood.

Here in the UK we will be celebrating on Sunday 27th March – the same Sunday as British Summer Time starts and the clocks go back, so as a woman I think we need to rethink this date for next year …   I don’t want to lose an hour of my lie in, the second Sunday in May sounds good.

Julia Ward Howe    Mothers Day

In the United States, the origins of the official holiday go back to 1870, when Julia Ward Howe an abolitionist best remembered as the poet who wrote “Battle Hymn of the Republic” worked to establish a Mother’s Peace Day. Julia dedicated the celebration to the eradication of war, and organised festivities in Boston for years.

Anna Jarvis  Mothers Day

In 1905 Anna Jarvis took up the idea of Mother’s Day as a way of honoring the sacrifices mothers made for their children, following the death of her own mother Ann Reeves Jarvis earlier that year.

After gaining financial backing from a Philadelphia department store owner named John Wanamaker, in May 1908 Anna organized the first official Mother’s Day celebration at a Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia. That same day also saw thousands of people attend a Mother’s Day event at one of Wanamaker’s retail stores in Philadelphia.

Following the success of the first Mother’s Day, Anna who remained unmarried and childless her whole life, resolved to see her holiday added to the national calendar. Arguing that American holidays were biased toward male achievements, she started a massive letter writing campaign to newspapers and prominent politicians urging the adoption of a special day honoring motherhood.

In 1907, Anna Jarvis, of Philadelphia, began the campaign to have Mother’s Day officially recognized, by 1912 many states, towns and churches had adopted Mother’s Day as an annual holiday, and Anna had established the Mother’s Day International Association to help promote her cause. Her persistence paid off in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day proclaiming it a national holiday and a “public expression of our love and reverence for all mothers.”

Mother’s Day Today

Today we celebrate our mums with gifts of candy, flowers, gift certificates, and lavish meals at restaurants which bears little resemblance to Howe’s original idea. There is nothing wrong with that. But here, for the record’s sake, is the proclamation she wrote in 1870, which explains, in her own impassioned words, the goals of the original holiday.

Arise, all women who have hearts!

Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or of tears! Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.

“Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says, “Disarm, disarm! The sword is not the balance of justice.” Blood does not wipe out dishonor nor violence indicate possession.

As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each learning after his own time, the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.

mothers day

Whilst a lot of this poem may not seem relevant in modern times, there should always be a day kept special for mums.   Whether they be mum, step-mum, foster mum, mum in law, nana, grandma, auntie, godmother or an important woman in your life, treasure them today and spare a thought for all the mums wherever they may be and whatever they may be going through.

Happy Mother’s Day from Kentra Training.


Mother's Day

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