The woman who started Mother’s Day would be pissed at what Mother’s Day has become.
Summary: Mother’s Day was originally NOT about mothers, but about their sons who had died in wars. Mother’s Day was a way for mothers to honour their sons. Mother’s Day was an appeal for women to unite for peace in the world. That was the original intent. Then the corporations got involved in it and hijacked Mother’s Day for card, candy and flower companies, and a way for restaurants to make money off of “Mother’s Day Brunch.” The day became all about mothers rather than their sons, completely losing its meaning. Julia Ward Howe who started Mother’s Day came to regret having ever started it because of what it became…and still is today unfortunately: Capitalism at its worst.
Hola. If Julia Ward Howe could see what Mother’s Day has become en Los Estados Unidos/in the US, I suspect she would scream: “What have you done to it? That’s not what Mother’s Day is supposed to be about. That was not my intent. What is wrong with you people? Don’t you read or remember any herstory?”
Mother’s Day was started by Julia Ward Howe following the Civil War. Mother’s Day was a protest to the carnage of that war and calling for disarmament by mothers who had lost their sons. Mother’s Day was their day to remember their sons. From my research, Doña Julia was a rather organised mujer/woman and she even wrote a Mother’s Day Proclamation (Boston, 1870). Check that out.
On Mother’s Day, some churches acknowledge the youngest and oldest mothers present in the congregation [roll eyes]. Roman Catholic and some Anglican churches, especially the High Church (Anglo-Catholic tradition), focus their liturgy on the Virgin Mary, the mother of the Holy Trinity. But Mother’s Day was not meant to be any of that nor was it meant to be a day of restaurants, las flores/flowers and candy. That was not the original intent of Mother’s Day at all and I wouldn’t think that one would be in the mood for such things when one is remembering one’s dead son(s).
Later, en Los Estados Unidos/in the US, Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother in 1908 and then she worked to make Mother’s Day a national holiday in the US. But that backfired on her in the end. In 1914, Mother’s Day became a recognised holiday, but by 1920 Doña Anna was already disappointed with the commercialisation of this holiday.
“Nine years after the first official United States Mother’s Day, commercialization of the holiday became so rampant that Anna Jarvis herself became a major opponent of what the holiday had become and spent all her inheritance and the rest of her life fighting what she saw as an abuse of the celebration. Later commercial and other exploitations of the use of Mother’s Day infuriated Jarvis and she made her criticisms explicitly known the rest of her life. She criticized the practice of purchasing greeting cards, which she saw as a sign of being too lazy to write a personal letter. She was arrested in 1948 for disturbing the peace while protesting against the commercialization of Mother’s Day, and she finally said that she “wished she would have never started the day because it became so out of control …”
So if one really wants to honour the original intent of Mother’s Day/Día de las Madres and if one feels obligated to give una tarjeta/a card or gift to one’s mother (or all hell will break loose if you don’t because la tarjeta/gift are expected due to “tradition”), la tarjeta should really be of a paz/peace and pacifist nature. It would not be some cookie-cutter tarjeta from a corporate card company with a syrupy message written on it by someone in-house gushing over a mother they don’t even know and have never met and never will! But that’s the way corporate cards are. Just sign your name to the thing since the message is pre-written for you. I prefer to write my own personal message en una tarjeta than a pre-written message.
A message of peace is what is appropriate for Día de las Madres/Mother’s Day and I’m sure Doña Julia would be very appreciative that at least someone is honouring her intent for the day. Chau.—el barrio rosa
[Article originally published mayo de 2015/May 2015].