Monday, April 18, 2016

Mother’s Day History in the United States

Who is “The Mother of Mother’s Day?”

There is no DNA to confirm who actually gave birth to the idea for the holiday. But there has been plenty of debate over the details of Mother’s Day history.

Just as Christopher Columbus washes away Leif Ericson for who discovered America, and Henry Ford rolls over the caveman who invented the wheel, the United States and one of its citizens are widely considered the parents who delivered Mother’s Day to us.

For thousands of years mothers and the art of motherhood have been honored and celebrated around the world. It has taken place in a number of ways. In ancient Greece, there was said to be an annual spring festival. It was dedicated to pay tribute to Rhea, the mother of many of the known deities. Meanwhile, the ancient Romans celebrated a religious festival on the vernal equinox to honor Cybele. She was their Great Mother of Gods. The Romans made many offerings to her. Even back then they knew it was wonderful and wise to stay in Mom’s good graces.

The early Christians celebrated the fourth Sunday in Lent in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. England is credited with expanding this into a holiday known as “Mothering Sunday.” It was established to be a celebration of Mary which was widened to include all mothers. Over time this Christian holiday has been blended to be quite similar to Mother’s Day. In fact, many Europeans confuse them for being the same thing.

Mother’s Day in the United States

civil-war-mothers-movementThe early efforts to establish a special day of tribute for mothers in the United States date back to the early 1860′s. The attempts were not the brainchild of an evil business executive with a big celebration in mind. Instead, it was a movement based on an idea which came from the heart…most likely a broken one.
This was the time of the “American Civil War,” or as some called it, the “War Among the States.” Women’s peace groups pushed to promote a “Mother’s Day” throughout the states which were divided not united. Groups of mothers with sons involved in the fighting on both sides of the war would meet to promote peace. Many of these devastated women had sons being wounded or killed in battle. Some estimates claim the death toll from the Civil War was 30% of all Southern white males under the age of 40. It was thought to be 10% of all males in the same age range from Northern states.

Enter Ann Jarvis and Anna Jarvis

Ann Jarvis was the mother of 11 children. She knew all too well about loss. Only 4 of her children lived long enough to become adults. Born in Virginia, she was residing in West Virginia during the American Civil War. She married the son of a pastor and was actively involved in her church.
Ann Jarvis organize “Mother’s Day Work Clubs.” These were women’s groups which raised funds for medicine. They inspected food and milk for safety standards. They even hired women to support families  where the mothers were battling tuberculosis. When the railroads made Taylor County, WV, a key strategic site in the war, Ann kindly but boldly organized her troops to remain neutral. And they did. They provided aid and medical care to soldiers in both blue and gray uniforms. Much of what they faced was the result of outbreaks of measles and typhoid fever raging through military camps on both sides.

In 1868 after the Civil War had ended, Ann Jarvis tried again. Tensions were extremely high with families on both sides of the war. So this time she focused on creating a community “Mother’s Friendship Day.” With it she hoped to use mothers to peacefully reunite families broken or divided by the war. The idea didn’t survive beyond a few years.

For decades others tried similar efforts. Protestant schools were very active in honoring similar holidays. But in that era there was no internet to spread them, no videos to go viral. A widespread annual Mother’s Day memorial just couldn’t catch on.

Julia Ward Howe, best known for writing the lyrics to the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” got involved in pushing for a Mother’s Day to promote peace. From New York City to her home in Boston, the suffragist, poet, and pacifist almost singlehandedly tried for years to hold together and sponsor a day which was like a rally of remembrance for American mothers. She believed the estimated three quarters of a million deaths in the Civil War was a heartbreaking loss which was hitting the mothers of these fallen soldiers the hardest.

Despite getting an official Mother’s Day Proclamation, Howe’s efforts only hung on locally in the Boston area for about 10 years.
In 1877 in Albion, Michigan, a dispute over the temperance movement led to one woman’s public call for mothers there to unite. The sons of Juliet Calhoun Blakeley were so inspired by what their mother did they worked for years to get an annual tribute for her. By the 1880’s, they were successful. Albion’s Methodist Episcopal Church designated the second Sunday in May every year for recognizing the special contributions of mothers.

Around the turn of the 20th Century, came another push for a national Mother’s Day in the United States. The Fraternal Order of Eagles started in Seattle, Washington was a group involved in the performing arts. Its president, Frank E. Hering made a public plea in 1904 for a day to honor our nation’s mothers. But one year later, when Ann Jarvis died in Philadelphia, PA, on May 9, 1905, the idea gained new life.

anna-jarvis-mothers-day-founderAnna Jarvis was a homemaker in West Virginia. She and her siblings resided with their mother she mother passed away. Anna seemed to make it her life’s mission to follow in her footsteps and finish the job.
Anna Jarvis never gave credit or made mention of any of the previous efforts listed here which history shows took place. She often shared a memory of her mother praying during a Sunday School lesson for establishment of a national Mother’s Day. Publicly and privately, Anna always claimed the creation of Mother’s Day was solely a Jarvis thing.
She began her campaign by organizing “Mother’s Work Day.” The local event was done to bring awareness to the poor health conditions in her community. She thought mothers were the best advocates for gaining support for the cause.
Anna found momentum, influence, and support by lobbying prominent businessmen. Among them was famous Philadelphian John Wanamaker, a successful pioneer in marketing and advertising. This got Anna Jarvis on the path she needed. She was led to connect with politicians. It reached all the way up to include U.S. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft who were said to support her in the quest for creating a special day.


On Sunday, May 12, 1907, in Grafton, West Virginia, Anna Jarvis was able to organize a service at her church, the Andrew’s Methodist Episcopal Church. It was then that she handed out white carnations to the members of the congregation where her mother had taught Sunday School. Carnations had been her mother’s favorite flower.

The following year marked the first “official” version of the church service in Grafton, West Virginia, which is now a National Historic Landmark as the International Mother’s Day Shrine. John Wanamaker then followed with a much larger ceremony in the auditorium of his huge Philadelphia store. The next year it moved to New York City. Then individual states began to adopt the holiday as well.

In May 1913, the U.S. Mother’s Day movement had its biggest and final “false start” of the many it had experienced over a 50-year period. This came when  Congressman James Heflin of Alabama introduced House Resolution 103. It requested members of the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, President Woodrow Wilson and members of his Cabinet, and all federal officials wear white carnations to honor mothers “for being the greatest source of our country’s strength and inspiration.”

The first capital observance of Mother’s Day was like an adoption of the movement. It spread the message clear across the United States. The overwhelming positive response made it a slam dunk. So the next year, May 9, 1914, Heflin formally introduced legislation. This time it made no mention of carnations. Instead it requested the American flag be on display nationwide as a public expression of love and reverence for our country’s mothers. The bill breezed through the House and Senate.
President Woodrow Wilson, wife, and daughters in 1912. Credit: Library of Congress

President Woodrow Wilson immediately and happily signed the bill into law the very same day. It mandated the second Sunday in May was a national holiday, “Mother’s Day.”

The Early Years

Sunday was much more of a “day off” in the U.S. during early 1900’s. Most Americans observed the new holiday by attending church, and giving handwritten letters to their Moms expressing gratitude and appreciation.

But it didn’t take long before the buying and sending of cards, Mother’s Day Gifts, and Mother’s Day Flowers became the actions of choice. Many Moms across America were excited to be showered with such love and affection. Meanwhile, Anna Jarvis grew very angry and bitter.

She felt her idea of the annual tribute had been sacrificed for profit due to the greed of others. In 1923 she filed suit in court to halt a Mother’s Day festival. She was later arrested for disturbing the peace at a convention selling carnations. The proceeds were to benefit a war mother’s group.

Anna Jarvis never married. She never had children. Soon after her milestone achievement she became just as willing to fight Mother’s Day as she had been to establish it. She formed the Mother’s Day International Association as her own corporation. She trademarked the phrases, “Mother’s Day” and “second Sunday in May.” Anna and her sister Ellsinore were said to have spent their entire family inheritance campaigning against the very thing for which she campaigned so long and hard to create.

Before Anna Jarvis died in poverty in West Chester, PA in 1948, she made it known she regretted all she ever did in starting the Mother’s Day tradition. According to her obituary in the New York Times, there was one quote from her which summed up the level of disgust she held for her fellow Americans:
“A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.”  – Anna Jarvis

This national holiday never died. It just changed with the times and has continued to do so. Sadly, Anna Jarvis could never see how happy so many mothers became on this day of remembrance.
  • She would never be able to digest it being the most popular day of the year for dining out and sharing good food as well as good company.
  • She would never hear any good coming from it being the highest day of telephone traffic.
  • She would never enjoy the day of tribute enjoyed so much today.
Life has changed drastically since Ann and Anna Jarvis embarked on their missions. It’s only natural that Mother’s Day in America changed along with it. The times and the holiday will continue to evolve. And as changes come and go, Americans now joined by many nations around the world will continue to love Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day Gifts Tradition

Hello mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, friends and relatives. What do you get when you cross respectful recognition with a retail extravaganza? The answer:  Mother’s Day Gifts in 2016.
It all began as a special but simple one-day salute. The whole point of it was remembering and recognizing mothers and motherhood. It still holds true. And surely there will be plenty of signs of it with families on Sunday, May 8, 2016 when the holiday is observed in the U.S.

Yes, Mom’s special day in the spotlight has stayed the same over the years. Yet in many ways it has also had some big time expansion. One only has to look at today’s booming Mother’s Day Gifts market for all the proof you need.

Bigger would be a far cry from better in the eyes of Anna Jarvis. She is the Appalachian homemaker and unofficial “Mother of Mother’s Day” in the United States. This woman would surely be wiping away tears over what the current market for Mother’s Day Gifts looks like today.

You see, Anna Jarvis’ vision for Mother’s Day was about building empathy. It was not about building an empire.

Years of community efforts by Anna in honoring her mother, named Ann Jarvis, were eventually given the highest reward. In 1914, the mission went mainstream. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill officially recognizing Mother’s Day as a national holiday.

At first, many Americans spent this sacred Second Sunday in May going to church services. Then families shared more good times together. Writing heartfelt letters to Moms expressing love and thanks was how the families started this tribute. But all across the USA, new chapters for Mother’s Day were quickly being written soon after the national holiday was born.

It all seemed innocent. Loving sons and daughters, spouses, siblings, parents and friends, really bought into the idea in more ways than one. It was something personal to them, not commercial. They wanted to honor and support this annual tribute for the Moms they loved. They wanted to express their gratitude and appreciation for these extraordinary women, and show them how much they cared. They gladly spent money to do it. It seemed well worth it. They felt it was the least they could do.

By the 1920’s, the actions of buying and giving Mother’s Day Gifts had wrapped itself around the United States. The commercialization of the holiday quickly became a tradition. It was embraced with the power of love much like the special hugs from Mom can have.

No doubt there were some pretty smart people who saw the business opportunities of creating a demand, a commercial market where they could profit from selling Mother’s Day Gifts. But there is also no doubt these savvy Americans were buyers, too. Somewhere along the line in their personal lives, they too had to have been touched by a Mother’s Love.

Good people like you, who are well-intended children, husbands, parents, siblings, and friends, don’t care to argue over whether or not Mother’s Day is commercial. It’s similar to Christmas. You don’t boycott it. You buy into it or give into it, right?

The truth is you buy Mother’s Day Gifts because it’s something you want to do. Sure, you know your Mom more or less expects something. She’d surely be hurt or embarrassed if you didn’t or forgot.

But in the end, you choose to do it. This is because you care. You know your Mother’s Day Gifts will make your Mom feel happy. She’ll feel valued and proud and lucky. And guess what? She’ll love you back..and some. So who’s really “The Lucky One” here? And when you think about it…one day on the calendar just for her doesn’t seem so much taking into account all she’s done for you.

Being at the heart of an annual Mother’s Day celebration is a real-life magical moment every Mom hopes to receive. It’s much like every girl and boy dreams of Christmas.

When you were a child, your mom played the role of Santa’s helper. This  helped you to feel special, loved and happy. Now giving gifts to help her enjoy a Happy Mother’s Day is a chance for you to experience the magic of returning the favor to her.

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Beautiful Mothers day gifts, homemade Mothers day gifts ideas

Here’s an easy Mother’s Day Gift. Your Mom will love it. If you’re not a writer or a poet and you know it, Mom knows it too. But with this idea you can give her something from your heart to hers worth a thousand words. For a Mother’s Day Gift you can give her a photo you know she’ll love. Here are some suggestions:

Mothers day gift ideas

Meaning: Make sure the photo has meaning or significance to her. Make it personal. Make it special. We’re talking about people, places, or things, which are near or dear to your mother’s heart. Put love into your choice. You could feature a photo about her family, her hometown, her hobby, or other highlights of her life. It could be an old picture she has sitting in a photo album in the closet or attic. If it needed to be restored and you did that, wow, just think what that will mean to her. Or, you could create a new photo opp specifically with this Mother’s Day Gift in mind.

Little You:  Take your Mom on a pleasant trip down memory lane. She surely has countless memories of you as an infant, toddler, or young child. You could find the first picture of you with her when you were born. You could find one where she’s happily or proudly holding you. Or you could use a milestone in your life when her presence or influence meant the most to you.

You Now: Give your mother a photo of you as you are now. Let her see how happy you are. Let her feel pride in knowing you turned out okay despite whatever mistakes or experiences occurred. She remembers all of them.

You and Mom: You can never go wrong with giving her a Mother’s Day Gift which features a photo of the two of you together. It could be one of her favorite pictures or one of yours. Either way, she’ll love it.

You and Your Siblings: Maybe you and your brothers or sisters were best friends. Or maybe you like the saying goes, you “fought like cats and dogs.” Surely, there were or are moments when you are champions for one another and happy together. Whether you realize it or not, these are sacred moments and memories for your mother.

Family: A group family photo can usually be a great Mother’s Day Gift. This can be a precious memory even if there has been a death in the family. In fact, this type of photo gift could help your mother to heal. The only exception to this idea would be if there has been a messy or painful divorce between your parents.

Her Mom: Chances are it would be special to give your mother a photo showing her and her mother looking happy together. This could be powerful whether or not her mom is still with you.

Customize: With this Mother’s Day Gift, you have a chance to bring back a old favorite for your Mom or create a brand new one. Don’t be afraid to be creative. You could even use photoshop to add a fun or special element for her.

“Be Sure” Snapshots:
  • Be sure to tell your mother the story of why you chose the photo.
  • Be sure to remember “size doesn’t matter.” Quality counts.
  • Be sure to find the perfect frame for the photo so she can display it.
Adding a photo as a Mother’s Day Gift is not only giving to your mother, it’s giving to yourself. You’ll feel really good during and after this whole process. You’ll get the best results if you remember the photo isn’t for her wall or her table. It’s a Mother’s Day Gift for her heart from yours.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Mother’s Day Carnations: How to Care for them

When it comes to Mother’s Day, not all flowers are created equal. For example, carnations are not just “any” flower. When you buy your Mom a bouquet of carnations or one which has them in it, you’re showing her respect. You’re honoring the rich history, tradition, and symbolism of Mother’s Day Carnations. Here’s why.
Carnations have grown from the very roots of this classic American holiday. It all started with Anna Jarvis, the woman credited with being the Founder of Mother’s Day. Anna had the perfect reason for using carnations as part of her first Mother’s Day celebration. You see, they were the favorite flower of her mother.
Through your kindness, the connection of Mother’s Day Carnations to this holiday lives on. In fact, it grows and grows and grows. When you give this flower to your mother it becomes her favorite, or one of her favorites. This is not just because of the unique beauty of the flower. It’s because your mom feels the beautiful expression of your love and appreciation for her. It’s also because of the love she has in her heart for you.
More importantly than just the Mother’s Day Carnations tradition living on, you want Mom’s heartfelt flowers to live as long as they can. Here are some helpful tips for caring for carnations and giving them what they need:
  • Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Carnations have the gift of an extended blooming period compared to other flowers. The quality of the bloom of your Mother’s Day Carnations depends a great deal on the soil and irrigation which was used in growing them.
  •  Carnations need to be kept moist. But make sure you don’t over water them. Too much watering will likely turn the foliage yellow.
  • Carnations need some hours of full sun. It’s best if you can do this every day. But don’t expose them to the direct heat of the sun outside. Also, make sure they avoid other forms of direct heat in the home such as a stove or fireplace.
  • Deteriorating flowers should be removed as soon as possible in order to promote continued blooming.
  • When plucking carnations, try your best to leave a few nodes at the base and be sure to remove the stem.
  • Be sure to look at them, love them, an enjoy them every chance you get. The saying, “Tomorrow is promised to no one” can certainly be applied to Mother’s Day Carnations.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Mother’s Day Carnations

Mother’s Day Carnations have quite a story. Carnations are one of our nation’s most popular flowers. If it weren’t for roses, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says carnations would be the most produced and sold cut flowers in America. Surprising, huh?

Mother’s Day Carnations are appreciated for a number of reasons. They are said to express fascination, distinction, and women’s love. They have a unique, ruffled appearance. They have an attractive clove-like aroma. They offer a longer blooming and freshness period than other flowers. Caring for Mother’s Day Carnations is easy. And perhaps best of all, Moms love Mother’s Day Carnations because they remind her you care.

Mother’s Day Carnations

The seeds of this relationship were planted on day one. This is because the tradition stems from the actual founder of the holiday. Anna Jarvis, widely recognized as the “Mother of Mother’s Day” got it all started when she handed out white carnations to the congregation at her mother’s church in Grafton, West Virginia. Hence they became the official Mother’s Day Flower. Why carnations you ask? But of course because they were her mother’s favorite flower.
Carnations are native to Eurasia. But they are enjoyed around the world. Many of them in the U.S. are grown in California. Florists sell them in a variety of ways for Mother’s Day. This includes in bouquets, arrangements, singularly in vases, and as boutonnieres.

Centuries of Carnations

They are one of the oldest cultivated flowers in the world. This dates back more than 2,000 years to the glorious times of ancient Greece and Rome. Their first use was said to be in garlands.
Known scientifically as Dianthus caryophyllus, this name is said to stem from two words used by the Greek botanist, Theopharastus. words. “Dios” refers to the God, Zeus. “Anthos” means flower. Hence the reason carnations as referred to as being the “Flower of Love” or “Flower of the Gods.”
Christians claim the first sightings of carnations came as Jesus carried the Cross on the way to Calvary, outside of Jerusalem for his crucifixion. Legend has it these were the beautiful flowers which miraculously sprang up out of the ground where the tears of the Virgin Mary fell as she cried over the atrocities acted out against her son.

Kinds of Carnations

There are several kinds of carnations. However, three are the most common we see today. They are annual carnations, border carnations, and perpetual flowering carnations. They generally grow as wide as 2 inches to greater than 3 inches. Yet, mini carnations have also grown tremendously in popularity.
Carnations are bisexual. These flowers bloom fully either solely or in a couple forms of clusters. They grow on long, straight stems and are instantly recognized by most people.

Carnations Colors

Supposedly, the earliest carnations were mainly in shades of pink and peach. Today, you can find them in virtually every color of the rainbow. They are popular in a variety of colors from white to black, red, and yellow and pink and green, purple, and orange and blue.

The colors of the carnations you give come with different meanings today.

White                                    Good Luck, Purity in Love
Light Red                               Admiration
Dark Red                               Deep Love, Woman’s Affection
Pink                                      Mother’s Love, Gratitude

Besides St. Patrick’s Day, green is the most popular color of Mother’s Day Carnations with Irish Moms. No matter what your ethnicity or favorite colors, don’t buy your Mom these carnations:

Yellow                                   These mean disappointment and dejection.
Striped                                  Express feelings of refusal and regret.
Purple                                   Capricious (odd, impulsive, unpredictable).

Generally speaking, carnations are color coordinated and play well with others. When you combine them with other popular flowers, you can create eye-popping Mother’s Day Flowers arrangements. For example:
  • Carnations and Roses
  • Carnations and Orchids
  • Carnations and Lilies
  • Carnations and Tulips
  • Carnations and Daisies
Here is some fun food for thought or for sharing at your Mother’s Day celebrations:
  • Carnations are sweet enough to eat. Yes, they are edible.
  • They are sweet enough to drink, too. In fact for centuries they have been used to help flavor beers, wines, and spirits.
  • Carnations are the official flower of many fraternities and sororities.
  • Scarlet Carnations are the official state flower of Ohio.
  • They are the national flower of Spain and Slovenia.
  • They seem to only grow in certain colors in the wild.
As one of the most popular Mother’s Day Flowers, it doesn’t take long to figure out Mother’s Day Carnations have a longstanding tradition as well as long-lasting value and benefits for both Mom and you.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Mother’s Day Flowers Tradition

The tradition of giving Mother’s Day Flowers was in full bloom by the 1920’s. Americans quickly fell in love with the idea of buying flowers and gifts in celebrating their Moms on this special day observed for them.

One person who didn’t buy into the concept at all was Anna Jarvis. She was the unofficial “Mother of Mother’s Day” in the United States. Credited for giving birth to the holiday just a few years earlier, Jarvis had no intention whatsoever for it to be commercialized.

In 1929, The Great Depression crippled the U.S. economy. Families from Wall Street to Main Street in towns across America suffered financially and emotionally. The mere thought of buying flowers quickly wilted overnight for 99% of the U.S. population. Even if it was just once a year for a beloved figure as Mom, the purchase of Mother’s Day Flowers was simply too much of a painful thorn in the side financially.

A few years later, once the days of The New Deal rolled out, better times for many Americans brought back new life and the celebration of holidays we cherish such as Mother’s Day. In the decades since then, the second Sunday of May has become a custom, a mainstream mandatory tribute to the women who give birth, then give everything in their hearts to their children.

Today, the Mother’s Day Flowers tradition is alive and in full bloom. Unlike Anna Jarvis, the clever florist (or florists) whose brilliant marketing idea long ago grew into what is now a multi-million dollar holiday weekend remains more or less an unknown hero for the flower industry. Perhaps there’s good reason for it.

Maybe whoever is responsible for dreaming up the market for selling Mother’s Day Flowers was simply a son or daughter using what they knew as a special gift for Mom. They never wanted credit for it. They simply wanted to use flowers as a sign for expressing their gratitude to their Mom on the day she is supposed to take credit for all she has done.

Everyone who has experienced a Mother’s Day celebration knows there is a certain magic to giving the gift of flowers on this special day. It’s a moment your Mom always loves, and one she’s probably grown to expect. And what’s more important than that? After all, this holiday is designed for making her happy and showing her she’s remembered, loved and appreciated.