Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Mother of Mother's Day

A sad and ironic story about the woman who started Mother's Day.

From MSNBC...
Anna Jarvis — never married, never a mother — campaigned for almost a decade to dedicate a day to honour mothers. She chose a Sunday because she wanted it to be a “holy” day, not a holiday, and the second Sunday in May because it was the anniversary of the death of her own beloved mother. (Officially adopted on May 8, 1914 by President Woodrow Wilson.)

Jarvis wanted us to show our mothers how much their devotion and sacrifice matters, how we esteem the “truth, purity and broad charity of mother love.” She expected us to do it with simple gestures — in her opinion, a single white carnation and a heartfelt letter were best.

Yet, Jarvis became increasingly disturbed as the celebration turned commercial.* Jarvis became known for scathing letters in which she would berate people who purchased greeting cards, saying they were too lazy to write personal letters "to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world."

Before she died in 1948, she protested at a Mother's Day celebration in New York, and was arrested for disturbing the peace. In the end, Jarvis was bitter about what the observance had become and "wished she would have never started the day because it became so out of control."

*Mother’s Day is the 3rd ranked spending holiday, after Christmas and Valentine’s Day. It will account for something like $15.8 billion in retail sales, including $2 billion on flowers, $3.5 billion on restaurant meals, making it the leading eating-out holiday of the year, $2.7 billion on jewelry, and over $650 million on greeting cards.

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