I sit here at the computer wondering when my kids are going to say “Happy Mother’s Day” to my wife, and if I phone my own Mom, if anyone will answer (Been trying to call the family back east for a few days now). And I realize that I don’t know all that much about “Mother’s Day”.
It turns out that there are several versions of Mother’s Day.
The oldest mother’s days were a festival for Cybele, in ancient Greece. A great mother of Greek gods. Matronalia, that was dedicated to Juno, for the Romans. Mothering Sunday, also called “Mothers’ Day” in the United Kingdom and Ireland and has more to do with returning to your “Mother Church”, which results with a visit to your mother as well. But as far as North America is concerned we owe this day to Julia Ward Howe, and her daughter Anna Jarvis.
Julia Ward Howe (1819 – 1910) was a social activist, best known for authoring “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”. I find it ironic that that song so often used by right-wing pro-war patriots, was written by a pacifist.
Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts,
Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!
“We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says: “Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.
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.
“Mother’s Day Proclamation” by Julia Ward Howe