People sometimes ask me if today is my favorite day of the year. Or they smile, wink and say, “It’d be a perfect day for a birth, wouldn’t it?
“What?” I ask. “Why?”
“Well, it’s MOTHER’S DAY,” they say.
Oh, right. Mother’s Day. I had not noticed.
Honestly, I had noticed. I traverse the Internet far too often — live there, really — to not notice the holidays people celebrate, be those celebrations what I call “Hallmark holidays,” religious observances, national holidays or even the “International Day of” kinds of days.
For your information, there’s a World Hug Day, an International Day of the Seal, International Lefthander’s Day, International Computer Security Day and a Talk Like a Pirate Day. Among others.
So today, in the United States at least, people celebrate Mother’s Day. I do not celebrate Mother’s Day, but more on that shortly. First, what about it?
From what I can find, it looks like the U.S. Congress passed a law in 1914 declaring the second Sunday of May Mother’s Day, a day to display flags as a “public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.”
Many accounts credit a woman named Anna Jarvis for truly founding the holiday seven years earlier in 1907 when she passed out 500 white carnations to mother members of her own late mother’s church in her mother’s memory.
Anna’s mother had been active in what had been called “Mother’s Day” campaigns for peace to end the U.S. Civil War, campaigns that have also been credited for the real origin of modern-day Mother’s Day.
In truth, people have been celebrating motherhood from the dawn of time. Hyper-fertile rabbits, their eggs and the goddess Oestre — aka “Easter?” All about fertility. Among others.
About seven years after Mother’s Day was crowned U.S. Congress-official, Anna Jarvis reportedly protested what she saw as a commercialization of the holiday — protested to the point of an arrest for disturbing the peace. Anna is said to have declared she wished she had never suggested it.
According to the National Retail Federation, people here spend more than $150 on average per mother for Mother’s Day gifts. Meanwhile, people starve and wars persist.
Oh, Anna. If she could roll over, she might.