Sunday, May 10th is celebrated in the United States as Mother’s Day. It has gotten a bit too commercialized here since it was started as an official national holiday back in 1914 under the direction of President Woodward Wilson. The concept for this special day was begun by Anna Jarvis to honor her mother and other mothers across the country. Carnations were given to all mothers at church services on that day. Eventually a tradition developed that everyone wore a flower, a red or colored carnation was worn by a person (male or female) if their mother was still alive and a white carnation if their mother was deceased.
What many people don’t realize is that the celebration of mothers on one special day is now done across the globe. Not all are the second Sunday of May as is done in the United States. In the United Kingdom the celebration is known as ‘Mothering Day’ and is the fourth Sunday of Lent, so the date each year will vary. In Sweden Mother’s Day is the last Sunday in the month of May, this is so all the flowers will be in bloom by then. The third Sunday of May is Argentine’s Mother’s Day celebration. However, most nations have the second Sunday in May as their celebration for mothers.
Wonder how to honor your mother, whether she has passed away or still with you? Mothers are family originated for the most part, so what is better than beginning or continuing the family history gathering. Dig out some old photos of your mother, grandmother, etc. and share them with the children in the family. Recall those little and major events in mom’s life; graduation from college, a trip across the country, her first job, a PTA mother, or caring for a sick child. Think of your mom as a woman first with her own interests, achievements, hopes and dreams. Those are some of the most important aspects of a mother, grandmother, etc. to include in any family history.
An example is my maternal grandmother, Eva Savilla Bixler Everhart (1891-1940), a woman who lost her own mother at the age of 2 and was raised by her grandmother, Savilla Sherman Musselman in Carroll Co., Maryland. Being a motherless child but having a very strong loving grandmother prepared her to be a great mother herself when she had her two children. Eva was very active in her community, helping people where she could. She also cared for her mother-in-law for years, never complaining. Crocheting very fine and detailed tablecloths and full bedspreads was Eva’s form of artistic expression. Her excellent pieces of handcrafts are still in use by the family members to this day. Eva supported the rights of women and instilled that in her daughter, my mother in her early years. I never knew my grandmother, but using any newspaper articles, information from my mother, family friends and other relatives, I did learn what type of woman Eva was and she will not be forgotten.
Pay tribute to those mothers on your family tree, record for future generations who they were and what they achieved, big or small, it all matters.
Photo above: Eva Savilla Bixler Everhart in 1911