This coming Sunday it’s Mothering Sunday in South Africa and in a few other countries. Please click HERE to read how Mothers Day is celebrating in different countries and to read about the history of Mothers Day.
Mother’s Day in South Africa
In South Africa, Mothers Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in the month of May. People of South Africa celebrate Mother’s Day in its true spirit by acknowledging the importance of mothers in their lives and thanking them profusely for all their love and care. People also gift flowers and cards to their mother as an expression of their heartfelt feeling of gratitude and affection.
The most commonly used flowers on Mothers Day is the traditional carnation. In South Africa, Mother’s Day is taken as an opportunity to thank not just mothers but also grand mothers and women who are like mothers.
Mothers are pampered by caring children on the day. Many children treat their mother with a delicious breakfast in bed but owing to the changing lifestyles, a large number of people take their mother out for dinners. Young children present their mothers with homemade gifts while the elder ones buy gifts for their mothers.
Earliest History of Mothers Day
The earliest history of Mothers Day dates back to the ancient annual spring festival the Greeks dedicated to maternal goddesses. The Greeks used the occasion to honor Rhea, wife of Cronus and the mother of many deities of Greek mythology.
Ancient Romans, too, celebrated a spring festival, called Hilaria dedicated to Cybele, a mother goddess. It may be noted that ceremonies in honour of Cybele began some 250 years before Christ was born. The celebration made on the Ides of March by making offerings in the temple of Cybele lasted for three days and included parades, games and masquerades. The celebrations were notorious enough that followers of Cybele were banished from Rome.
Early Christians celebrated a Mother’s Day of sorts during the festival on the fourth Sunday of Lent in honor of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ. In England the holiday was expanded to include all mothers. It was then called Mothering Sunday.
Everybody knows that a good mother gives her children a feeling of trust and stability. She is their earth. She is the one they can count on for the things that matter most of all. She is their food and their bed and the extra blanket when it grows cold in the night; she is their warmth and their health and their shelter; she is the one they want to be near when they cry. She is the only person in the whole world in a whole lifetime who can be these things to her children. There is no substitute for her. Somehow even her clothes feel different to her children’s hands from anybody else’s clothes. Only to touch her skirt or her sleeve makes a troubled child feel better, by Katharine Butler Hathaway
For when you looked into my mother’s eyes you knew, as if He had told you, why God had sent her into the world…it was to open the minds of all who looked to beautiful things, by James M. Barrie.
A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. ~Tenneva Jordan
Story of Anna Jarvis
The story of Mothers Day is the story of firm determination of a daughter, Anna Jarvis who resolved to pay tribute to her mother, Mrs Anna M Jarvis and all other mothers of the world. Anna Jarvis dedicated her life to fulfill her mothers dream of the recognition of day for honoring mothers. Though never a mother herself, Founder of Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis is today recognised as the ‘Mother of Mothers Day’. An apt title to define the remarkable woman’s ceaseless devotion to her mother and motherhood in general.
Anna Jarvis: Childhood
Anna Jarvis was born in Webster, Taylor County, West Virginia, on May 1, 1864. She was the ninth of eleven children born to Ann Marie and Granville Jarvis. Her family moved to Grafton when Anna was a year old. It was here that the Anna did her schooling. In 1881, she enrolled at the Augusta Female Academy in Staunton, Virginia, now Mary Baldwin College. After finishing her academics, Anna returned to Grafton and did teaching in a school for seven years.
Anna Jarvis: Inspiration for Mothers Day
Anna Jarvis got the inspiration of celebrating Mothers Day quite early in life. It so happened that one day when Anna was 12 years old, Anna’s mother Mrs Jarvis said a class prayer in the presence of her daughter. To conclude the lesson on ‘Mothers of the Bible’, Mrs Jarvis said a small prayer,
“I hope that someone, sometime will found a memorial mothers day commemorating her for the matchless service she renders to humanity in every field of life. She is entitled to it.”
Anna never forgot this prayer. And at her Mothers graveside service, she recalled the prayer and said, “…by the grace of God, you shall have that Mothers Day.” The words were overheard by her brother Claude.
Anna Jarvis: The Struggle for Mothers Day
After the death of her mother in 1905, Anna Jarvis resolved to honor her mother. She became all the more serious in her resolution when she found that adult children in the US were negligent in their behaviour towards there parents. Besides the desire of her mother that someone would one day pay tribute to all mothers, living and dead and appreciate their contributions made Anna decisions even more stronger.
In 1907, Miss Anna began an aggressive campaign to establish a National Mothers Day in US. On the second death anniversary of her mother she led a small tribute to her mother at Andrews Methodist Church. By the next year, Mother’s Day was also celebrated in her own city of Philadelphia.
To give shape to her resolution, Miss Anna Jarvis along with her supporters began to write hundreds of letters to those holding the positions of power advocate the need for a national Mothers Day. A fluent speaker, Anna used every platform to promote her cause. Though the response was cold initially, she achieved a breakthrough by gaining the support of great merchant and philanthropist, John Wanamaker of Philadelphia. The movement gained a fresh impetus with his support. In 1909, forty-five states including Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico observed the day by appropriate services. People also wore white and red Carnations to pay tribute to their mothers, according to the tradition started by Anna Jarvis. Anna chose carnations because they were her mother’s favorite flowers. White carnation was her most favorite because it represented the purity of a mother’s heart. A white carnation was to be worn to honor deceased mothers, and a red one to honor a living mother.
By 1911, Mother’s Day was celebrated in almost every state of the Union. And in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson made the official announcement proclaiming Mother’s Day as a national holiday that was to be held each year on the second Sunday of May.
Anna Jarvis: Purpose of Celebrating Mothers Day
Elisabeth Eybers (geb. 1915)
Somer en herfs en winter trek in wye
onafgebroke wisseling deur die land,
maar sy bly draer van die lente want
liefde het haar verhef bo die getye.
Haat en verwoesting plant hul lamfervlae
in honderd stede en oral sink die nag;
vir háár op wie ook bloed en worsteling wag
klink nog die lied van vrede en welbehae.
Die uitgeteerde ruiter neig sy sens
en aarselend voor die klaarheid van haar blik
erken selfs hy sy heerskappy se grens:
in haar wat die onsterflikheid bewaak
ontkiem die toekoms in die flou getik
van lewe wat voorwêreldlik ontwaak.
For My Children
How motherhood would change my life, not for one moment did I expect;
And equally change me – an apprentice mother tutored by motherhood each day.
As I thrilled to watch my children grow, their joy of life I strived to reflect –
Endeavouring not to cause their tears, while kissing their little sorrows away.
What a delight to turn tiny eyes from tearful to brighter than the sunrise.
Now they do it for me and swell my heart with but a simple word!
I’d give my life for them without any hesitation; I know they realise
That my love is the one unchangeable thing in an ever-changing world.
As I turn out my memory box, happy times and laughter I remember.
A little wooden heart, a serviette holder, a purple paper rose,
All made with love and an effort to evoke a hug, a tear, a smile so tender.
What these gifts truly meant to me, only God in heaven knows.
On my down days, a call from one of them who has sensed I’m feeling low,
Makes the sun shine warmer, birds sing sweeter and butterflies colourfully play.
Sure I was there to show them their first puppy, rabbit or rainbow.
But they’ve shown me how to see all things in a fresh and finer way.
I recall the times when I truly believed my heart would burst with pride
At one of their successes; I ask how a child of mine could do so well.
A blessing each one has been, a gift from God – a fact I’ll never hide.
I beg Him to guide and protect them, then in peace I’ll continue to dwell.
From a moment long gone when plump little arms were entwined around my neck
With the words, ‘I love you, Mommy,’ to the undeserved gifts they send,
It’s my kids who provide me with great joy and imbue me with deep strength
To smile at the future so graciously, with each as a loyal and loving friend.
How did you find the energy, Mom
To do all the things you did,
To be teacher, nurse and counselor
To me, when I was a kid.
How did you do it all, Mom,
Be a chauffeur, cook and friend,
Yet find time to be a playmate,
I just can’t comprehend.
I see now it was love, Mom
That made you come whenever I’d call,
Your inexhaustible love, Mom
And I thank you for it all.
By Joanna Fuchs
Best Mom Award
For all the things I didn’t say,
About how I felt along the way–
For the love you gave and the work you’ve done,
Here’s appreciation from your admiring son.
You cared for me as a little tot,
When all I did was cry a lot,
And as I grew your work did too–
I ran and fell and got black and blue.
I grew some more and it didn’t stop;
Now you had to become a cop,
To worry about mistakes I’d make;
You kept me in line for my own sake.
I got older, and the story repeated;
You were always there whenever I needed.
You guided me and wished me the best,
I became wiser and knew I was blessed.
So, for all the times I didn’t say,
The love I felt for you each day,
Mom, read this so you can always see
Just how much you mean to me.
Mom, Thanks for everything!
By Karl Fuchs