Reflection Part 3 - Mother’s Day Proclamation 1870
Mothers’ Day or Mother’s Day is marked annually on the 2nd Sunday of May in North America, New Zealand, Australia and other parts of the world. Mothering Sunday has been marked on the 4th Sunday in Lent, mainly in The United Kingdom and Ireland, since the 16th century. The days have different foci and origins.
Mother’s Day, or now Mothers’ Day, has its origins in the United States in 1870. Julia Ward Howe, known as the writer of the Battle Hymn of the Republic: a prominent social reform advocate, abolitionist and pacifist, disturbed by the events of the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War, wrote what became known as the “Mother’s Day Proclamation” in 1870. Julia Ward Howe’s appeal was for women to unite for peace in the world. In 1907 the call to establish a Mother’s Peace Day was ignited by Anna Jarvis; and, after momentum grew for a day to be set aside, President Woodrow Wilson declared the second Sunday in May to be a public holiday, as ‘a public expression of our love and reverence for all mothers’.
Julia Ward Howe in later years become disturbed by growing commercial aspects of the day, and the shifting away from a day focussed on promoting peace.
Again, in the sight of the Christian world,
In this day of progress, in this century of light,
That word should now be heard, and
- Julia Ward Howe (1870)
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Read by Sonia Faulkner