Mother’s Day is dedicated to the adulation of those who have gracefully nursed us or our children from the womb, and continue to dedicate their lives toward our comforts and betterment as citizens of the world. Although we have more than enough reason to be grateful and may have heartfelt activities planned out to ensure that Mom feels sincerely appreciated on that day, we ought to examine how this day of thanks came about, because in appreciating history, we hold the present with much more regard.
Many historians may give this occasion roots in the ancient world, when goddesses such as Isis of Egypt were held in great honor. Romans though celebrated “Matronalia”, a day observed for the goddess Juno, to bless women with more offsprings. Later, this led up to the Christian regards for Mary, the mother of Christ.
A more formal commemoration began through the Anglican Church of England in the 1600’s. In the middle of Lent, the religious were encouraged to return to their “Mother Church” and worship there. During the Victorian times, household servants were given this day off to visit their mothers specifically. Later, it became rooted in tradition to celebrate all mothers, so until today, it is called “Mothering Day”.
The American celebration has been adapted throughout most of the modern world however, and this is due in full to three women. Early settlers in the “New World” did away with Mothering Day and all other festivities linked to their ancestry, as to establish a completely new culture.
Julia Ward Howe wrote the famous “Battle Hymn of the Republic” for Union troops in the American Civil War (1861-1865). As a mother and a wife of a soldier, she empathized with the other “fighters” on the literal home front, and became a champion of sorts for mothers left behind. Finding son killing son fruitless and destructive, she beckoned for an international mother’s day to be celebrated to encourage peace and to give credence to mothers. In her Mother’s Day Proclamation of 1870, she wrote:
“In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask That a general congress of women without limit of nationality May be appointed and held at someplace 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.”