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  • Prof. Ketan Vyas

Mother’s Day

Mother's Day is celebrated to honour mothers and the important role they play in our lives, as the name suggests. International Mother's Day is celebrated every year on the second Sunday in May. On this day, Mother's Day gifts and cards are often sent to mother figures.

Almost everywhere in the country, Mother's Day is celebrated like a festival. But have you ever thought about when Mother's Day was first celebrated, who celebrated it and how it was celebrated? What is the story behind the celebration?

  • The story goes that a young Appalachian housewife, Ann Jarvis, organised "Mother's Work Days" in 1858 to improve sanitation and combat deaths caused by insects and seepage of polluted water.

  • Over a century ago, Boston poet Julia Ward Howe, a women's rights activist, introduced a special day for mothers and for peace, which was lacking after the bloody Franco-Prussian War.

  • Then Ann Jarvis, also known as "Mother Jarvis", was a public health advocate. During the Civil War, she organised women's brigades, urging her workers to help mothers and what they could best do for them. She also organised various Mother's Day clubs that dealt with issues of child rearing and public health. In 1868, she took the initiative to resolve issues between her Confederate and Union neighbors.

  • Anna Jarvis, Jarvis' daughter, heard her mother give a lesson on mothers in the Bible at Sunday school in 1878 when she was twelve. The elder Jarvis said she hoped that "someday someone will set up a memorial for Mother's Day." Continuing, she said that "there are many days for men, but none for mothers".

  • The custom spread to churches in 45 states, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Mexico and Canada. In 1912, the governor of West Virginia proclaimed Mother's Day and in 1913 the governor of Pennsylvania did the same. In the USA, it became an official holiday in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as a day to honour motherhood, to express love and affection for the mothers of our country who gave us life so that we could live on this beautiful planet.

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