Mother’s Day is a holiday honoring motherhood that is observed in different forms throughout the world. The American incarnation of Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 and became an official U.S. holiday in 1914. Jarvis would later denounce the holiday’s commercialization and spent the latter part of her life trying to remove it from the calendar. While dates and celebrations vary, Mother’s Day most commonly falls on the second Sunday in May and traditionally involves presenting mothers with flowers, cards and other gifts.
Celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele, but the clearest modern precedent for Mother’s Day is the early Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday.” Once a major tradition in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, this celebration fell on the fourth Sunday in Lent and was originally seen as a time when the faithful would return to their “mother church”—the main church in the vicinity of their home—for a special service. Over time the Mothering Sunday tradition shifted into a more secular holiday, and children would present their mothers with flowers and other tokens of appreciation. This custom eventually faded in popularity before merging with the American Mother’s Day in the 1930's and 1940's.
The roots of the modern American Mother’s Day date back to the 19th century. In the years before the Civil War (1861-65), Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia helped start “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to teach local women how to properly care for their children. These clubs later became a unifying force in a region of the country still divided over the Civil War. In 1868 Jarvis organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” at which mothers gathered with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation.
Another precursor to Mother’s Day came from the abolitionist and suffragette Julia Ward Howe. In 1870 Howe wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” a call to action that asked mothers to unite in promoting world peace. In 1873 Howe campaigned for a “Mother’s Peace Day” to be celebrated every June 2. Other early Mother’s Day pioneers include Juliet Calhoun Blakely, a temperance activist who inspired a local Mother’s Day in Albion, Michigan, in the 1870s. The duo of Mary Towles Sasseen and Frank Hering, meanwhile, both worked to organize a Mothers’ Day in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some have even called Hering “the father of Mothers’ Day.”
The official Mother’s Day holiday arose in the 1900s as a result of the efforts of Anna Jarvis, daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis. Following her mother’s 1905 death, Anna Jarvis conceived of Mother’s Day as a way of honoring the sacrifices mothers made for their children. After gaining financial backing from a Philadelphia department store owner named John Wanamaker, in May 1908 she organized the first official Mother’s Day celebration at a Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia. That same day also saw thousands of people attend a Mother’s Day event at one of Wanamaker’s retail stores in Philadelphia.
Following the success of her first Mother’s Day, Jarvis—who remained unmarried and childless her whole life—resolved to see her holiday added to the national calendar. Arguing that American holidays were biased toward male achievements, she started a massive letter writing campaign to newspapers and prominent politicians urging the adoption of a special day honoring motherhood. By 1912 many states, towns and churches had adopted Mother’s Day as an annual holiday, and Jarvis had established the Mother’s Day International Association to help promote her cause. Her persistence paid off in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
Anna Jarvis had originally conceived of Mother’s Day as a day of personal celebration between mothers and families. Her version of the day involved wearing a white carnation as a badge and visiting one’s mother or attending church services. But once Mother’s Day became a national holiday, it was not long before florists, card companies and other merchants capitalized on its popularity.
While Jarvis had initially worked with the floral industry to help raise Mother’s Day’s profile, by 1920 she had become disgusted with how the holiday had been commercialized. She outwardly denounced the transformation and urged people to stop buying Mother’s Day flowers, cards and candies. Jarvis eventually resorted to an open campaign against Mother’s Day profiteers, speaking out against confectioners, florists and even charities. She also launched countless lawsuits against groups that had used the name “Mother’s Day,” eventually spending most of her personal wealth in legal fees. By the time of her death in 1948 Jarvis had disowned the holiday altogether, and even actively lobbied the government to see it removed from the American calendar.
While versions of Mother’s Day are celebrated throughout the world, traditions vary depending on the country. In Thailand, for example, Mother’s Day is always celebrated in August on the birthday of the current queen, Sirikit. Another alternate observance of Mother’s Day can be found in Ethiopia, where families gather each fall to sing songs and eat a large feast as part of Antrosht, a multi-day celebration honoring motherhood.
In the United States, Mother’s Day continues to be celebrated by presenting mothers and other women with gifts and flowers, and it has become one of the biggest holidays for consumer spending. Families might also celebrate by giving mothers a day off from activities like cooking or other household chores. At times Mother’s Day has also been a date for launching political or feminist causes. In 1968 Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King Jr., used Mother’s Day to host a march in support of underprivileged women and children. In the 1970's women’s groups also used the holiday as a time to highlight the need for equal rights and access to childcare.
Mothers at the Wall Day
This is a day for mothers who have lost a child to war. There is nothing more devastating that losing your child. If you have lost one who went off to fight for our country, you have the heartfelt sympathies of an entire nation at your feet as you go to the Vietnam Memorial Wall for the special Mother's Day ceremony.
The Name Addition Ceremony is held on Mother’s Day each year. Each year, names that have met the Department of Defense criteria for addition to The Wall, having sustained wounds in Vietnam from which they eventually perished, are unveiled on the black granite of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.
This year, 2014, the names of 14 American servicemen will be engraved on the black granite walls of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the status designations will be changed for eight others whose names are already on The Wall.
National Twilight Zone Day
As far as holidays go, this special day is out of this world! Not to be confused with Extraterrestrial Abductions Day, May 11 is National Twilight Zone Day!
While the origins of this annual holiday are unknown, most people of a “certain age” probably remember the thought-provoking television series where nothing was quite what it seemed. Or was it?
Hosted and created by Rod Serling, The Twilight Zone aired from 1959 through 1964. Strange and surreal things often transported ordinary people into another dimension during the twisted sci-fi thriller with the super-creepy theme song.
Rod Serling was born in New York on Christmas Day in 1924. He went on to serve in the U.S. Army and attended Antioch College. The Emmy-award winning writer went on to write television scripts and screenplays and wrote over 90 of the 156 Twilight Zone episodes himself. Rodman Edward Serling died in 1975.
How to Celebrate National Twilight Zone Day
- Watch one or two of the classic Twilight Zone television episodes – if you dare.
- Tune in to the 1983 Twilight Zone Movie starring Dan Aykroyd and Albert Brooks and directed by John Landis.
- Play The Twilight Zone board game.
- Who do you think were the 10 Weirdest Twilight Zone Villains?
- After you have a few of these Twilight Zone Cocktails, made with Bacardi White, Dark and 151 Proof Rum, Triple Sec and orange and pineapple juices, chances are pretty good you’ll be transported to a different dimension too!
Eat What You Want Day
It’s Eat What You Want Day! Today is the day to ignore your diet and indulge in the foods you love most. Spread the word about this unique holiday with a free eCard for the occasion! While junk food is certainly acceptable on Eat What You Want Day, don’t forget to include your favorite meals as well. Perhaps you’d like to recreate Thanksgiving dinner, or a childhood classic like mac and cheese and pigs-in-the-blanket.
Did you know that dieting is a relatively new phenomenon? Our ancestors were concerned with getting more carbohydrates and fats into their systems, not less! The first fad diet programs appeared in the U.S. during the 19th century and today people are still trying all sorts of crazy things to lose a few pounds.
To celebrate Eat What You Want Day, eat all of your favorite healthy and not-so-healthy foods (in moderation). We hope you enjoy every bite!
Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Day
May 12 -- the National Awareness Day for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Our wonderful advocacy groups have organized events around the country, but millions of us can't be a part of them due to illness, geography or both. But that doesn't mean you can't do something today to raise awareness!
If you're on Twitter or Facebook, you can raise awareness very simply -- make lots of posts on Thursday. You can also re-tweet, share or copy and paste the posts I'll be making, or those from other people working to get the word out. You can email articles to people in your life who could use a better understanding of our illnesses.
Fibromyalgia is a complex condition that's difficult to understand, especially if you don't have a medical degree. Because it involves the brain and nervous system, fibromyalgia can have an impact on virtually every part of the body.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS or ME/CFS) is much more than just being tired a lot. People with ME/CFS are so run down that it interferes with their lives and can make it hard to function at all. Some people with ME/CFS say they have trouble staying on top of their responsibilities at home and on the job, while others are severely disabled and even bedridden. Furthermore, they're not just dealing with extreme fatigue but with a wide range of other symptoms, including flu-like symptoms and chronic pain.
Hostess CupCake Day
Hostess CupCake is a brand of snack cake formerly produced and distributed by Hostess Brands and currently owned by private equity firms Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co. Its most common form is a chocolate cupcake with chocolate icing and vanilla creme filling, with eight distinctive white squiggles across the top. However, other flavors have been available at times. It has been claimed to be the first commercially produced cupcake, and has become an iconic American brand.
The Hostess CupCake was first sold on May 11, 1919. According to author Andrew F. Smith, it was the first commercially produced cupcake, originally produced by the Taggart Bakery as the Chocolate Cup Cake. Hostess has also claimed that it was "the first snack cake ever introduced to the market." In 2004, rival Tastykake disputed this claim, claiming that Tastykake introduced the first snack cake.
Originally, two cupcakes were sold for five cents. Different flavors were offered during the early years, including cupcakes topped with vanilla or malted milk flavored icing. During the 1940's, an orange flavored cupcake was developed, with orange cake and icing. But until 1950, the Hostess CupCake did not have any filling or the white squiggly line across the top.
In 1947, D.R. "Doc" Rice, who started his career at Hostess in 1938 with a job that entailed dumping baked cakes on a table, was given the task of developing the Hostess CupCake further. These developments culminated in an updated cupcake in 1950. A white line consisting of squiggles was added to the top in order to distinguish the Hostess CupCake from other brands. The vanilla creme filling was also added. Rice got the idea for using a creme filling when a new machine for injecting filling into Hostess Twinkies became available. Improvements were also made to the cake mix and the chocolate icing in 1950. According to Rice, the updated cupcakes were first produced and test marketed in Detroit.
Other flavors of Hostess cupcake that have been available at times have been a golden vanilla and strawberry.
In 1988, 400 million Hostess Cupcakes were sold. As of 2011 Hostess sells over 600 million CupCakes each year. Although Hostess Brands entered into bankruptcy protection in 2012, the company planned to continue making CupCakes and other snack cakes such as Twinkies and Sno Balls. These plans have been derailed by the company's liquidation and announcement that they are going out of business on November 16, 2012.
Hostess Cupcakes are sold as Pinguinos (Penguins) in Mexico by local company Marinela (the pastries division of the breadmaking Bimbo brand).
Root Canal Appreciation Day
Tooth pain is not a laughing matter, and for anyone who has experienced that discomfort prior to having treatment from an endodontist, Root Canal Appreciation Day is a big, big event. For teeth that have been damaged or irritated to the point of infection, the root canal procedure not only prevents worsening or abscess, it also preserves the tooth and maintains the integrity of the natural bite. Don’t worry; there’s no need to rush out for an unnecessary root canal just to celebrate the day. Recognizing the importance of dental health and its connection to overall health is enough. Root Canal Appreciation Day can be honored by acknowledging the dental specialists who relieve tooth pain and take care of smiles, and by celebrating the resilience of our teeth and their enduring ability to keep on chewing and keep on smiling.