A FEW weeks ago, I received an e-mail from one of my dearest friends. She is based in London, and I wondered if perhaps she had too much to drink as she e-mailed me “Happy mother’s day!” on April 3.
It was well over a month before May 8, and I checked for a punch line in her e-mail but there was none—just a sweet note sending her love to the hubby and the babies.
It was not until last Saturday that we finally got to Skype and clear things up. Apparently, Mother’s Day is Mothering Sunday in England, and always celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent.
This led me to wonder about the origins of Mother’s Day. Here is a holiday celebrated all over the world. Why? Because it doesn’t matter if you are Catholic or atheist, single or married, a citizen of this country or that—the fact is, we all have mothers, and that’s all you need to join the celebration!
The current Mother’s Day celebrations have little to do with the original festivals celebrating the worship of a mother goddess back in ancient times. But from those days in 6,000 BC, we can trace the celebration to the Ancient Greeks and Romans, who set aside special days to celebrate womanhood and fertility and worship Cybele (for the Greeks) and Juno (for the Romans).
It wasn’t long before Christianity entered the picture, and the originally pagan festival was absorbed into the Christian calendar as Mothering Sunday. During this day, Mother Mary and one’s “Mother” church were given honor, and children and young servants (child labor, anyone?) were given the chance to go home and visit their own families and mothers. On the way home, they would pick flowers for their “mothers,” both the figurative and literal.
Fast forward to 1870 and across the ocean, over in the United States, a lady by the name of Julia Ward Howe had just enough of the horrors of the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. She began a campaign for women to come together against the war. She promoted the idea of a day, June 2 in particular, when mothers would come together for peace.
Her idea was widely accepted and greatly influenced by Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis, who wanted to have a Mother’s Friendship Day for sanitation. You can laugh all you want now at that idea, but back then, her efforts at educating women on sanitation and nursing saved numerous lives as living conditions on a postwar nation were far from pleasant or hygienic. Unfortunately, she passed on before she could see her life’s work truly bear fruit. Fortunately, it was continued by her daughter, Anna Jarvis.
Anna Jarvis dedicated her whole life to her mother’s cause. She wanted a day that would honor mothers—not just mothers for peace or sanitation, but a day for mothers, simply for being mothers. She wanted every family to celebrate their mother, whether living or dead. She wrote to countless legislators, businessmen and ministers to encourage them to support what she felt would boost respect for mothers and family relationships.
On May 10, 1908, a church service was set honoring Mrs. Reeves Jarvis. Every person in the service was given a white carnation as souvenir. It was the favorite flower of the late Mrs. Jarvis. And that was the beginning of Mother’s Day as we know it today. In 1914, Anna Jarvis saw her mother’s dream come true when President Woodrow Wilson declared every second Sunday of May to be Mother’s Day.
Ironically, Ms Jarvis was not a mother. She chose to take care of her sick mother until her dying day over getting married. This goes to show why this holiday is so dear to all of us. It really doesn’t matter who you are or what your status in life is; as long as you were loved by that one amazing woman as you were growing up, this day will always be special.
And now, here is where my shameless plug comes in. This Mother’s Day, May 8, the Bantay Bata Advisory Board (Lisa Chan, Jackie Lhuillier-Hess, Rajo Laurel, Carla Ramsey, Dawn Zulueta-Lagdameo, Manny Padilla, Nanette Medved-Po, Kaye Tinga and myself) has come together to produce a wonderful event called “Mothers for Others” at the Rizal Ballroom of Shangri-La Makati Hotel.
The doors will open at 10 a.m., and will feature the famously delicious champagne brunch of its fine dining restaurant, Red. A Children’s Couture Fashion Show also awaits guests, featuring the best designers of Manila. All eyes will be on the future muses of Inno Sotto, Pepito Albert, Rajo Laurel, Jun Escario, Randy Ortiz, Ivarluski Aseron, Paul Cabral, Rhett Eala, Jojie Lloren, Dennis Lustico, Patrice Ramos-Diaz and Cary Santiago which includes, yes, you guessed it, this stage mom’s own daughter as well.
But wait! There’s more! At the venue, families can make themselves comfortable in a living room setup where Patrick Uy awaits to take their complimentary family portrait. After all, how often does the whole family come together, dressed up and with someone other than the waiter to take the picture?
And, yes, we are well aware that Mother’s day is also the Pacquiao-Mosley fight, and while I am not allowed to disclose how this will be taken care of, rest assured the men will not have to miss cheering on the Pacman!
The best part? It is all for the benefit of the indigent pediatric heart patients of Bantay Bata. That’s right, it’s 100 percent charity. There is a long list of children waiting for the opportunity to have a life-saving operation. It’s not a question of whether these kids can survive the heart conditions they were born with, because they can. Given today’s advanced technology and amazing doctors, giving these kids a chance to survive is not an option. It’s our responsibility.
So just in case you haven’t made plans for Mother’s Day, do join us as we honor the lives that mothers gave, and can save, by calling Lita at 0916-4341096 for your family’s tickets. I hope to see you there!