Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Tidbits

I guess it isn't just a holiday to keep the florists and jewelers in business while remembering our mother's. Apparently, there's a lot more to Mother's Day. There are early Egyptian, Roman, Greek and European celebrations that go way back. The first North American Mother’s Day was the idea of Julia Ward Howe, who wrote the Mother's Day Proclamation in 1870, and it had nothing to do with taking your mom out to dinner. Howe called on mother's to come together and protest what she saw as the futility of their son's killing other mother's son's. Interestingly, Howe also wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic 12 years earlier, but apparently had seen enough destruction in the Civil War. Following is her passionate proclamation calling for an international Mother's Day celebrating peace and motherhood:

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise all women who have hearts,
Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears
Say firmly:"We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of 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 of ten 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 his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, But of God.
In the name of womanhood and 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.

I had no idea. There is more interesting history to the modern Mother's Day celebration in America, but I'll have to leave that to another time. This mother is being summoned to read stories.