The celebration of Mother's Day as a holiday in the US is attributed to Mrs. Anna Jarvis, who dedicated her life to promoting the holiday. She was inspired by her own mother's devotion to the raising of a family of eleven children.
On the second anniversary of her mother's death, the second Sunday in May, Anna Jarvis convinced her mother's parish in West Virginia to hold a celebration of Mother's Day. The church was decorated with her mother's favorite flower, the white carnation, a symbol of sweetness, purity and endurance. Mother's Day - the day of flowers. The white carnation was originally worn to symbolize a mother who has passed away and a red carnation for one who is living. However, many other flowers are now accepted as being significant on Mother's Day.
In 1910, West Virginia officially recognized Mother's Day, and in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed it a national holiday. Historians believe that our modern day tradition of honoring our mothers dates back to the ancient cultures of Greece and Rome. Mother goddesses were worshiped in both of these cultures during the spring and in religious festivals. Rhea, powerful goddess and wife of Cronus, was also known as Mother of the Gods. There is evidence of a mid-March festival to honor the Roman goddess Magna Mater, or Great Mother, which dates back to 250 BC. The celebration of the "Mother Church" replaced the pagan festivals during the spread of Christianity throughout Europe.
by Margaret E. Walker
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