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Origins of Mother’s Day

This time of year, the kiddos at school are doing arts and crafts projects in honor of their mamas. Commercials are giving us ideas of what to purchase moms. Hallmark is stocked with cards full of thoughtful expressions for mom. And the florists are filling up their shops with roses.

Have you ever wondered where this tradition to honor moms stems from?

Mother veneration is not a new thought. Ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman civilizations had many gods. Each of these ancient cultures had their own version of mother god—the mother of all gods.

Egypt named her Mut, or Muat, which translates to the word mother. Pharaohs, who were taught to be walking deities on earth, scarified to Muat before passing away. Pharaohs hoped that this sacrifice would please Muat and that she would help Pharaoh maintain his divinity when he entered the afterlife.  Ancient Greece and Rome both named their version of Muat Cybele. Cybele worshippers would castrate themselves in her honor or work themselves into an emotional frenzy and self-mutilate.

Ann Reeves Jarvis is credited with bringing Mother’s Day to the United States. Reeves grieved her mother’s passing and to honor the legacy of her mother she flooded public figures, media, and press to gain attention to make her goal a reality. West Virginia was the first state to adopt this holiday and the following year (1914) the reset of the states began to practice this custom.

Why am I giving you a small history lesson?

Oftentimes, we follow customs without taking the time to learn of its origins or stop to see if we even agree with them or not. Even if the customs today differ greatly from the customs from which they stem from—it beckons the question: WHY do I observe or uphold these specific traditions?

Before you take out the pitch forks, I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with making moms feel special by buying them presents. I actually encourage that notion.  

I have a friend who’s two children were born on the same month. So that specific month they pick a random day and call it Push Day. On Push Day my friend’s children make her cards and thank her for pushing both of them into this world.

My friend is a fantastic mom. And on Push Day her children are reminded of the labor of love that is motherhood.

Tell me friend: WHY do you celebrate Mother’s Day?

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