Tag Archives: love

How to Celebrate Mother’s Day

mothers day

Let’s face it; mothers rarely if ever get the thanks and appreciation that they deserve.  In our infant years, they provide us with every bit of life-sustaining support necessary to nurture us and turn us into healthy and happy adults.

In 1890s, a woman named Anna Jarvis swore on her own mother’s grave to establish a day of remembrance for mothers everywhere.  After eighteen years of attempting to gain support for her efforts, a West Virginia church agreed to dedicate a Sunday service in May to the mothers of the congregation. One year prior to the agreement, Anna personally attended a service at the church and passed out over five hundred carnations to the mothers attending that day.  Anna’s efforts did not stop with the hand-delivery of the carnations however.

Her efforts included a letter-writing campaign where she sent personalized letters to business leaders and politicians in an effort to gain national support for the establishment of a “Mother’s Day.”  The first politician to move for the establishment of the holiday was Elmer Burkett from Nebraska who introduced a bill the U.S. Senate.  The bill was supported also by the YMCA, a leading national philanthropic organization. Although the bill was rejected, Anna’s plight continued.

In 1912, two full years before the holiday would be nationally established by Woodrow Wilson, the State of West Virginia legally established Mother’s Day as a state holiday.

Anna Jarvis was not the first woman to push for a Mother’s Day.  In 1872, a woman names Julia Ward Howe began to campaign for a Mother’s Day of Peace after the Civil War.  Funding the Boston, Massachusetts public celebrations herself, Howe intended to establish a tradition of celebrating women and mothers everywhere.

Howe, in addition to establishing the first public celebrations of women, contributed significantly during the beginning establishment of women’s rights in the United States. Howe is also known as the author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, a national folk song popularized during the Civil War.

The United States is not the only country to devote a day to the celebration of mothers and women everywhere.  Some of the other countries with a national holiday include Great Britain, Denmark, Australia, Finland, France, Turkey and Italy.  Of course, every country celebrates at a different time throughout the year.  Spain for example, celebrates motherhood on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception which is already a national holiday.  Britain calls it’s celebration “Mothering Sunday,” and the celebration occurs on the fourth Sunday in Lent.

The commercialization of Mother’s Day was scorned by Anna Jarvis, who intended for the day to be a personalized celebration, mainly due to the popularity of pre-made greeting cards for the occasion.  She believed that an hand-written letter of thank was much more appropriate.  However, there are many industries today which can thank consumers for ignoring Anna’s insistence on personal attention and creativity.

Everyone sends mom flowers on Mother’s Day! Just ask the florist industry, which peaks on Mother’s Day, making it very busy for the nearly 25 thousand U.S. florists.  Also, since mom is not going to expected to cook on this day most restaurants claim that Mother’s Day is their busiest day of the entire year.

This is not to mention the greeting card industry, which touts sales of Mother’s Day cards for almost 95% of America’s 80 million mothers.  Yes, they definitely profit from the labor of our mothers.

Some non-commercial ways to celebrate your mother include sending her a home-made greeting card with a personal note included, make her dinner or a special dessert or just make it a point to spend some time with her.  Not every celebration warrants the expense of supporting retailers and commercialism, and Mother’s Day is one of the few where the sentiment is often more desired than any gift.

How To Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Celebrating Love on Valentine’s Day

Love is in the air every February, especially leading up to February 14th, officially recognized as Valentine’s Day in the United States and throughout much of the world. It’s a day for romance and the expression of love in many shapes and forms. It’s a day for candy and flowers, for heartfelt sentiments and dreams of finding true love.

Several legends exist which claim to know how the exchange of love tokens and words became known as Valentine’s Day. The first is that during the Middle Ages, it was believed that birds would first find a mate for spring around the middle of February. Others go back even further, to the times of the ancient Romans and Greeks. In one Roman festival and feast, the names of young women and men were placed in a container. The name of one man would be drawn, followed by the name of a woman to whom he was destined to protect for the following year. He wore her name on his sleeve and she became his valentine. This custom generally took place on February 14th.

As time progressed, the exchange of gifts was added to the drawing of names, and later still, it was the male who presented the female with gifts. From this came a custom of sending a greeting or small gifts. Others believe that the celebration was created to honor St. Valentine, a priest who served at a temple in the time of the Roman emperor Claudius. He was very popular, and after the emperor declared that no more marriages were to be performed due to his needs for men in the military, St. Valentine nevertheless continued to unite young couples in the holy state of matrimony. St. Valentine was thrown into prison, where he died, but his spirit to help young couples in love lives on to this day.

The first postal services in the American colonies were inundated with such greetings and cards on February 14th, and over the years the tradition grew until local businesses began to carry collections of pre-designed cards for the young people to purchase for a penny. In the Victorian era, Valentine’s Day became quite the rage, with elaborate cards and parties designed to keep the youth entertained. In the United States, Valentine’s Day has always offered quite a challenge to the postal service, and in the early 1900’s, over a million Valentine greetings were mailed. Candy favors made an appearance soon after, and young suitors offered their ladies sweet concoctions designed to melt their hearts and flowers to encourage their spirits toward the return of such affections. Today, school children as well as adults traditionally exchange Valentine cards, sweets and flowers in tokens of love and affection that has not waned since the first Valentine’s Day was celebrated. Red hearts and white lace doilies make an appearance in supermarkets and card stores throughout the country well before the date, as do tokens of affection such as stuffed animals and trinkets designed to bring a smile to lovers everywhere.

Many American towns and cities host Valentine’s parties and get-togethers, complete with decorations, beverages and foods from all over the world. Valentine’s Day in America is a time to cherish those close to your heart. It’s a time when matchmaking between couples heats up, as do blind dates and others in search of their soul mate. Valentine’s Day is a time for couples and those hoping to find their better half, and Cupid and his arrows aimed at the hearts of unsuspecting, but potential, lovers, flit around with reckless abandon. Valentine’s Day is set aside for romance and togetherness between couples of all ages, a day when love is truly in the air.