This Sunday, May 13, is Mother’s Day. The tradition selecting a day or festival to honour and celebrate our mothers goes back thousands of years, from the Greco-Roman festivals honouring the mother of the gods, Cybele. But it wasn’t until the early twentieth Century, when West Virginian Anna Jarvis selected the second Sunday in May as a day to honour our mothers that the occasion really caught on. Here is a little of her story:
Anna’s mother Ann Jarvis had founded Mothers’ Day Work Clubs in five cities to improve sanitary and health conditions. The Mothers’ Day Work Clubs also treated wounds, fed, and clothed both Union and Confederate soldiers with neutrality.
On May 12, 1907, two years after her mother’s death, Anna held a memorial to her mother and thereafter embarked upon a campaign to make “Mother’s Day” a recognized holiday. She succeeded in making this nationally recognized in 1914. The International Mother’s Day Shrine was established in Grafton to commemorate her accomplishment.
By the 1920s, Anna Jarvis had become soured by the commercialization of the day. She incorporated herself as the Mother’s Day International Association, trademarked the phrases “second Sunday in May” and “Mother’s Day”, and was once arrested for disturbing the peace. She and her sister Ellsinore spent their family inheritance campaigning against what the holiday had become. Both died in poverty. According to her New York Times obituary, Jarvis became embittered because too many people sent their mothers a printed greeting card. As she said, “A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world.”
As Anna Jarvis never married and had no children, she never suffered that indignity. Be that as it may, Mothers day is alive and kicking, and presents us with a perennial opportunity to do something special for our moms.
Perhaps this year you can think outside the box of candy, or the bouquet of flowers. Did you know Chuck Hughes is coming to town? Star of “Chuck’s Day Off”, the handsome chef has been known to set the hearts of many a mother aflutter with his charm and savoir faire in the most important room in a mother’s house, the kitchen.
He’ll be at the Drake Hotel on Monday, May 14th, promoting his new cookbook, “Garde Manger.” Imagine taking your Mama to this event and getting this babe to personalize a copy of his book. She may re-write her will!
Garde Manger is a great cookbook full of recipes that run the gamut from sublime comfort foods like Fried Hot Chicken on Waffles to classic desserts like Strawberry Shortcake, and is chock full of beautiful full page colour photos of the perfect man mucking about in the kitchen. Dedicated to “ anyone who’s ever cooked on the line or washed dishes”, this could be a dedication to “everymom.” He even includes a picture of himself with his Mom in the book. What a nice boy.
Anyway, even if you can’t make it to the Drake to check out this hottie, you can surprise your mom with a copy of this cookbook on Sunday. Anna Jarvis will thank you.