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Mother's Day… How Did It Begin?
by Pastor Barbara Whitehead - The House of Shekinah Glory
berdine dennard
Pastor Barbara Whitehead

Mrs. Anna Jarvis and Daughter Anna Jarvis

The celebration of Mother's Day is one of the most notarized holidays in the U. S. The celebration is not only important to mothers, but it is also important to merchants. It is the third largest retail holiday in the U.S. It has been said that over $20 billion is spent on Mother's Day celebrations annually. Have you ever considered the roots of the modern American Mother’s Day? You might be quite surprised to find out how it all began.

Back in the 19th century, before the Civil War (1861-65) Ann Reeves Jarvis helped to start Mothers' Day Work Clubs. These clubs were designed to help local women learn how to properly care for their children. Then in 1868, Jarvis organized "Mothers Friendship Day"; this gathering was to promote reconciliation between former Union and Confederate soldiers.

In 1870, a "Mother's Day Proclamation" was written by Julia Ward Howe. Ms. Howe was an abolitionist and suffragette. She was a woman of action and principle. It was a call to action that asked mothers to unite in promoting world peace.

The official Mother's Day holiday was conceived when Ann Reeves Jarvis died in 1905. Anna Jarvis, the daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis wanted to establish a way to honor the sacrifices of mothers made for their children, after her mother's death. She gained financial backing for her idea from John Wanamaker, in May 1908 and organized the first official Mother's Day celebration at a Methodist church in Grafton West Virginia. That same day thousands of people attended a Mother's celebration at one of Wanamaker's retail store in Philadelphia.

By 1912 many states, towns and churches had adopted Mother's Day as an annual holiday. Jarvis established the Mother's Day International Association to help promote her cause. In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson officially established the second Sunday in May as the Mother's Day. Once Mother's Day became a national holiday, it was not long before florists, card companies and other merchants capitalized on its popularity. Jarvis became so disgusted with how the holiday had been commercialized that she denounced the commercialization and urged people to stop buying Mother's Day flowers, cards and candies. She started a campaign against the profiteers and even charities. She launched a lawsuit against groups that used the name Mother's Day. By the time of her death in 1948, Jarvis had disowned the holiday and actively lobbied the government to see it removed from the American calendar. She was disappointed that the celebration had lost its focus. Mothers should be celebrated.

Mother's Day began as an effort to promote improved parenting, reconciliation instead of war, world peace and honoring the sacrifices made by mothers for their children. Mothers are the most powerful and influential people in the world. May we use our influence to demonstrate an effect beyond our personal spheres and impact our world? Happy Mother's Day! Pastor Barbara Whitehead

The House of Shekinah Glory.

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