Julia Ward Howe is credited with issuing the first Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870. It was an effort intended to join a movement for the nations of the world to disarm.
The holiday, as we know it today, was started by Anna Jarvis in 1909 as a tribute to her deceased mother. Jarvis asked people to wear white and red carnations to pay tribute to their mothers since it was her mother’s favorite flower. By 1911 most of the states observed the holiday.
President Woodrow Wilson declared it an official national holiday in 1914. Mother’s Day remains one of the biggest days for sales of flowers, greeting cards, and electronic communication.
As much as Anna Jarvis worked to have Mother’s Day become a reality, she hated how the day had become commercialized, and felt sorry that she ever started the tradition.
In England the honoring of all mothers is called Mothering Sunday. It is a time for families to come together, and for children to show their love and gratitude by giving cards, flowers and homemade crafts.
Mothering Sunday is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent. This year, the date for Mothering Sunday was March 18.
In France, la fête des meres is celebrated on the last Sunday of May. However, the day changes to the first Sunday of June, if the day of Pentecost occurs on the same day.
The French celebrate mother’s day traditionally by honoring her with a cake that resembles a bouquet of flowers. Mom is treated to special meals on this day. The meals are usually complemented with a variety of wines and champagne.
Like in Acadiana, school children in France make cards, crafts, or write poems to give them to their mother. Many families treat their mothers by cooking a breakfast, or giving her a treat of a Mother’s Day brunch, or taking mom to a nice restaurant. And of course the mother is given bottles of her favorite perfume. Presenting mothers with gift baskets of cosmetics and perfumes make them feel so special.
Cajuns have always believed in strong family units. And mom is usually the family member that strives to maintain that tradition. Let us keep that tradition alive by doing something special for mom on Sunday.
Happy Mother’s Day!
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