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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Naperville Gardener – Mother’s Day tradition

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Did you know we weren’t the first to celebrate Mother’s Day? The tradition has its roots in Egypt with annual festivals to honor Isis, the goddess perceived as the ideal wife and mother. In Greece, celebrations honored the mother of Zeus and in Italy, they honored Cybele, mother of all gods, during the spring equinox.

Slowly, but surely, appreciation of mothers became more down-to-earth as human mothers finally received the recognition they deserve. In the United Kingdom, Mothering Sunday gave people time off to spend time with their mothers and was also a time to return to your “mother” church in your hometown.

Here, in the United States, Mother’s Day has its roots in the visions of Julia Ward Howe and Ann Jarvis. Julia wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation” that encouraged mothers to unite to promote world peace. She also encouraged “Mother’s Peace Day” with other anti-war activists, including Ann’s mother, to unite our country after the Civil War and Europe after the Franco-Prussian War.

Before the Civil War, Ann founded “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to help mothers learn how to take care of their children. Ann helped our country heal by organizing “Mothers’ Friendship Day” when mothers invited former Confederate and Union soldiers to enjoy a day together.

These attempts at world peace faded when Ann’s mother died and she wanted an official day to honor her mother and all mothers for the sacrifices they make for their children. She succeeded when President Woodrow Wilson officially established the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day, after years of prodding by Ann.

The white carnation was the favorite flower of Ann’s mother and Ann was known for sending hundreds of them to her mother’s hometown church. Ann felt that the shape and life cycle of the carnation reflected a mother’s love, saying, “The carnation does not drop its petals, but hugs them to its heart as it dies, and so too, mothers hug their children to their hearts, their mother love never dying.”

For more than 100 years, the carnation has been the official flower of our Mother’s Day.

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Marilyn Krueger
Marilyn Kruegerhttp://www.napervillegardenclub.org
Marilyn Krueger is an avid local gardener and member of the Naperville Garden Club.
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