Origins of Mother's Day - a Cry for Peace!
And, in the 1600s, England celebrated "Mothering Sunday" -allowing servants to return home to be with their mothers, bringing with them a "mothering cake" to share.
Mother's Day in America began as a cry for peace!
"From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own: it says 'Disarm. Disarm.'
That's an excerpt from the document that launched the first effort to establish Mother's Day in America, – "PEACE: A Mother's Day for Peace."
In 1870, Julia Ward Howe wrote "The Mother's Day Proclamation for Peace".
Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910) was a poet, born in New York.
With her husband Samuel Gridley Howe, she published poetry, plays and travel books, as well as the anti-slavery newspaper "The Commonwealth".
During the early stages of the American Civil War, Julia Ward Howe was inspired by the efforts of a young West Virginia woman, Anna Jarvis, who, in 1858, began bringing women together to help improve sanitation, through what she called Mothers' Work Days. After the war, in 1868 she began working to reconcile Union and Confederate neighbors by organizing "A Mother's Friendship Day"in which mothers from both North and South whose sons had died in the Civil War came, dressed in gray or blue, and held hands together and sang.
In recognition of their voluntary work with the Sanitary Commission, in 1862 President Lincoln invited Samuel and Julia Howe to meet with him in Washington. Lincoln personally escorted them to the Virginia battlefields of the Civil War. In 1861, she wrote "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" after she'd witnessed the effects of the war–the death and disease, and while working side-by-side with widows and orphans of soldiers on both sides of the war, she saw the devastating impact on the lives of all those touched by war, and the economic crises that followed the war, for survivors in both the North and the South.
As the Franco Prussian War was about to begin, Julia Ward Howe called for a congress of women to gather immediately to promote
"PEACE: A Mother's Day for Peace."
" . . . Julia Ward Howe held a standing room only meeting in Boston the day that she read that proclamation...."
Julia Ward Howe continued writing, and became active in the women's suffrage; movement and advocated world peace. In 1908 she became the first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Here is the complete text of Julia Ward Howe "Mother's Day Proclamation for Peace":
"Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise all women who have hearts! Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears!
We will not have questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands shall 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 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 plow 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 then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.
In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place 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."
Long after both Julie Ward Howe and Anna Jarvis had died, Ann Jarvis' daughter -- of the same name -- started her own crusade to found a memorial day for women. The first U.S. Mother's Day was celebrated in West Virginia on May 10, (records show either 1907 or 1908), in the church where her mother had taught Sunday School. "This was a church service dedicated to mothers, recognizing the unappreciated work that mothers do, and calling for peace in the home and in the world." And from there the custom caught on, quite rapidly spreading to 45 states by the time, on May 9, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson declared the first national Mother's Day, officially naming the second Sunday in May "Mother's Day", with no reference to a mother's role in promoting peace in the world.