And Just Where Would We Be Without Our Mothers?
Motherís Day: The Forgotten History
It began with the ancient Greeks, became a voice for peace, and now receives
by Craig Weatherby
The idea behind Mother's Day
has roots among the ancient Greeks, who kept a festival dedicated to Cybele, a
great mother of gods, around the vernal equinox, observed today on March 31.
The Greek tradition was adopted by ancient Romans, who moved the celebration to
the Ides of March (March 15 to March 18). Ancient Romans also honored their
mothers on the feast day of Matronalia, which was dedicated to Juno, the goddess
The predecessor to todayís
holiday was first envisioned after the American Civil War by English social
activist Julia Ward Howe, with the purpose of uniting women against war.
But it was the efforts of
Philadelphia woman Anna Jarvis -- never a mother herself -- that led directly
to broad celebration of Mother's Day.
Ms. Jarvis came up with the concept on the first anniversary of her mother's
death in May, 1907, and actually trademarked "Mother's Day" in an attempt to
defend, unsuccessfully, against rampant commercialization.
In 1914, President Wilson issued a National proclamation establishing the
holiday: a watershed moment that made flower stores, candy makers, restaurants,
card makers -- and, one hopes, many mothers -- quite happy. Everyone that is,
but the modern holiday's creator!
While Motherís Day grew to its
current proportions largely in response to a persistent marketing push, mothers
richly deserve a day dedicated to honoring their sacrifices ... no matter how
the holiday came about!
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Please don't forget Mom this Sunday, the 13th
of May - really - where would you be without your mother?
Mother's Day: Why Flowers are Still The Perfect Gift
By Dr. Myatt
Ever wonder why people send flowers for just about every occasion you can name,
from births to deaths, weddings to divorces, sickness, love, apologies and yes,
Mother's Day? After all, flowers seem like such an extravagant gift. You can't
eat them (for the most part), most aren't medicinal, and after a week or so,
they wither and die. Yet for thousands of years, humans have spent
untold amounts of time and money cultivating these
fleeting natural beauties. There has been no explanation for this "wasteful"
behavior until recently, when scientific studies uncovered at least part of the
reason for our fascination with flowers. With their artful palette of colors,
shapes and scents, flowers appear to induce powerful, positive emotions in the
human species. And since most humans
are "positive emotion junkies," well, we just keep
going back for more.
In one study, women always elicited the Duchenne or "true smile" when presented
with flowers. The increased positive mood could be
measured for three days or more after presentation. In another study, a flower
given to men or women in an elevator elicited more positive social behavior than
any other stimuli. A third study showed that flowers given to participants aged
55+ evoked positive moods and improved memory. Researchers conclude that
"Flowers have immediate and long-term effects on emotional reactions, mood,
social behaviors and even memory for both males and females." (Author's note:
how do people find jobs like "flower researcher"
and where can I apply?)
I'll admit it, I love to send flowers to friends and family for any occasion and
sometimes for no occasion. The delight it always seems to
bring them is unmatched
by other gifts I work a lot harder to find. Aside from
their joy, the next best part of sending flowers is that I can choose, order and
send people-pleasing bouquets from the convenience of my easy chair by using an
online florist. My favorite online service offers hundreds of arrangements by
occasion, price, color - you name it. I can add
balloons, chocolates, fruit, cookies, teddy bears,
wine and cheese or even
spa gifts. I love it - customized flower and
gift-giving nirvana without ever leaving home! My online florist has always
given me excellent service (in the U.S.), and their prices
are better than anything I've found locally. As an added bonus, most
arrangements can be delivered the very next day (this has saved my bacon more
than once, when I suddenly remember a birthday, anniversary or other important
occasion at the last minute)!
Bottom line? I'm willing to wager that flowers will never go out of style as
"the" gift of love and remembrance, and I'll be sending my mom a healthy dose of
same for Mother's day. Have some fun window-shopping at my favorite online
flower shop, because life's too short not to stop and
smell the roses! Send
Your Mother Flowers Now!
Flowers are Still The Perfect Gift
An Environmental Approach to Positive Emotion: Flowers. Haviland-Jones,
Hale Rosario, R. McGuire, Evolutionary Psychology
3: 104-132, 17 April 2005.