05/09/03
Mother's Day, Musically
    Read by Fiona Barnes

Brief sound clip

That's Los Lobos, from their delightful CD for young people called "Papa's Dream." And, speaking as a mother, that's the way that I'd like to wake up on Mother's Day morning -- with a serenade! In many Mexican communities, the children get up early and make their mothers breakfast, and serve them in bed to the accompaniment of songs.

Mother's Day celebrations may actually go back as far as the ancient Greek and Roman spring festivals for Rhea and Cybele, who were both mother goddess figures. There was a Mothering Day in England during Lent that was meant to be a holiday spent with one's mother. In 1872, the American poet and social activist, Julia Ward Howe, who wrote "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," imagined a day honoring mothers as "agents of peace" in the aftermath of the Civil War. But the holiday really took hold forty years later through the work of Anna Jarvis who was seeking a way to pay tribute to her own and, by extension, all mothers. The idea proved to be so popular, and Ms. Jarvis and her friends such tireless advocates for it, that in 1914, President Wilson declared Mother's Day a national holiday. But by the late 1920s, Ms. Jarvis was campaigning against the commercialization that had begun to take over this day of commemoration. She had something much deeper in mind -- like a heart-felt song. Please excuse me while I sip my orange juice and listen.

Brief sound clip

Copyright 2003 John Cech

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