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The History of Mother's Day (page 2)

The History of Mother

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Updated on Apr 13, 2009

Our “Modern” Mother’s Day

Nowadays, Mother’s Day is a bonanza for retailers: Americans spend an estimated $2.6 billion on flowers and $68 million on cards. According to the National Restaurant Association Mother’s Day is the most popular day of the year to eat out!

For Anna Jarvis, however, and for many other woman activists at the turn of the century, this commercialization would have been a disappointment. As early as 1870, the poet Julia Ward Howe, who also wrote the famous “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” proclaimed that Mother’s Day should be a time for women to “solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means/Whereby the great human family can live in peace.” Anna Jarvis, who lived to 1948, spent the last years of her life railing. “I wanted it to be a day,” she said, “of sentiment, not profit.”

So, parents, if you’re planning to head out for brunch this Mother’s Day, we certainly wouldn’t urge you to cancel. But the spirit of the “mothers” of Mother’s Day, we hope you’ll encourage your children to stop and take appreciative note of everything Moms do. Handmade gifts and cards are especially good ways for kids to slow down and celebrate. This is also a wonderful time to honor the many mothers who have come before ours, leaving a legacy of love, hope, and courage. As Supreme Court Justice and poet Oliver Wendell Holmes, himself a survivor of the Civil War, wrote, “[It is] mothers most of all, who carry the keys of our souls.”

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