Mother’s Day: History and Acknowledgment

The beauty of life is that it is multi-faceted. Mother’s Day has many facets as well. For some, it is a time of great joy, and for others, it is a difficult time. We acknowledge and honor this. The following is a bit of history about the holiday as we prepare to sing for you.

The tradition of honoring mothers stems from the ancient Greeks and Romans when festivals were held for the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele.  In Anglican traditions, it was a call in England to return to the Mother Church or Anglican church. Our tradition in the United States came from Ann Reeves Jarvis who, in 1868,  founded several “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” in West Virginia to train women to care for their children.

Two years later, Julia Ward Howe, a suffragist and abolitionist, wrote a “Mother’s Day Peace Proclamation” wherein one day per year would be held to honor world peace.

After Ann Reeves Jarvis passed away, her daughter, Anna Jarvis, petitioned for Mother’s Day to become a holiday to honor the sacrifices of mothers. The first Mother’s Day was celebrated in 1908 during a Methodist Church service in West Virginia, and in 1914, after much petitioning, it became a national holiday.  

That is not the end of the story, as Anna meant for it to be a time of reflection and honor. Soon, florists, stationery shops, and retailers abounded with commercialism.  As this was not Anna’s intention, she denounced the holiday, but it has remained to this day.

Many cultures around the world have set aside one day to honor mothers and caregivers. For some, it is a day of great joy, and for others, it is a reminder of loss. However, we can all agree on one common ground: We have all been children, and if we are here sharing this earth, we have been cared for in some way.  Therefore, our concert theme is honoring mothers and caregivers equally.  

Our concert program, “Sing My Child,” weaves through it several aspects of the above history, as we are performing it on Mother’s Day in an Anglican church with a women’s chamber choir.  Our music encompasses the notion of life as a journey – from the Song of Miriam (Elaine Hagenberg) to the more simple aspects of daily life: Grace Before Sleep (Susan LaBarr) and And So It Goes (Billy Joel).  Allow the music to wash over you and bring healing, joy, and gratitude on this coming Mother’s Day.