Mother's Day is fast approaching and I thought I would spend a little time talking about the origins of Mother's Day.
When I was a kid, Mother's Day was one of my favorite holidays. That was the day the Russells and the Stredwicks would get together and celebrate two matrons in the family. My grandmother, Mae Russell and Millie Stredwick, the matron of the Stredwick family.
The Russell kids and the Stredwick kids had grown up together working their farms in Eltopia, Wa. The two families were close and remained so for many years.
My first memories of Mother's Day involve going out to Bob Stredwick's house, where all the Russells and Stredwicks would gather for a BBQ and potluck supper. It was great. Every type of food imaginable was there. My favorite was the German sausage Bob would grill up and put between French bread. Yummy.
The first one I remember is when I was five years old. Every year after that I can remember going out to Bob's farm on Mother's Day. We would miss a year every once in a while, sometimes it couldn't be helped, but we didn't miss too many.
I would get to see all my aunts and uncles, cousins and the Stredwicks kids. It was a great time.
So how did this holiday come about? I looked online at a site called www.holidays.net.
According to them, the earliest Mother's Day celebrations can be traced back to the spring celebrations of ancient Greece in honor of Rhea, the Mother of the Gods. Speaking of the name Rhea, there was a girl who broke my heart long ago with that name. How ironic.
England celebrated a day called "Mothering Sunday," which supposedly honored the mothers of England.
The site explains that at this time in England, the poor mainly worked as servants for the rich. These servants would work far from home and on Mothering Day, they were encouraged to travel home and spend the day with their mothers.
As Christianity spread throughout Europe the celebration changed to honor the "Mother Church" or the spiritual power that gave them life and protected them from harm. Over time the church festival blended with the Mothering Sunday celebration. People began honoring their mothers as well as the church.
Mother's Day was first suggested in the United States in 1872 by Julia Ward, the author to the words of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, as a day dedicated to peace.
The website goes on to explain in 1907 Ana Jarvis of Philadelphia began a campaign to establish a national Mother's Day. Ms. Jarvis persuaded her mother's church in Grafton, West Virginia to celebrate Mother's Day on the second anniversary of her mother's death, the second Sunday of May.
Ms. Jarvis and her supporters began to write to ministers, businessmen and politicians in their quest to establish a national Mother's Day. It was successful as by 1911 Mother's Day was celebrated in almost every state. President Woodrow Wilson, in 1914, made the official announcement proclaiming Mother's Day as a national holiday that was to be held each year on the second Sunday of May.
Over time people have passed on the Russell and Stredwick side. Both Mae and Millie are gone. So is Bob and some of the other Stredwicks. We don't see them as often as we all would like but we still see each other every once in a while. As of late it seems we only see the Stredwicks when there is a death on either side of the family.
But we all remember and sometimes that will have to do. I'll always think of two things on Mother's Day. My mom of course (happy mother's day mom) and those warm May days when the Russells and the Stredwicks would gather to eat, visit and spend a day together.