Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Red Carnation For Mother's Day

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Mother's Day is celebrated throughout the world in many ways and on many different days.  The holiday was started in Grafton, West Virginia in 1907 by Anna Jarvis  as a tribute to her mother, Ann Maria Reese Jarvis who founded The Mothers Day Work Clubs to improve health and sanitary conditions.  The clubs also treated, fed and clothed wounded soldiers during the U. S Civil War.

She grew disenchanted after the commercialization of the holiday and actively campaigned against it.  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. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.
—Anna Jarvis.

She never married and had no children.

In Pre Castro Cuba we had what I thought was a  beautiful tradition.  Everyone got dressed and went to church wearing a carnation in honor of one's mother.  Red if your mother was alive,  white if she had passed away.  Better than a printed card no?

In honor of my favorite Madame Mere,  tomorrow I will be proud to wear a red carnation. 


  1. Best wishes to you, Julieta, and Madame Mere for a very happy Mother's Day.
    __ John T

  2. What an interesting story about Anna Jarvis. I shall look into her to see if she is related to my husband. There are quite a few Jarvis in his family.

    When I was growing up, children (and adults too I guess) wore a red rose if you mother was alive and a white one if they weren't.

    Hope you are having a lovely Mother's Day weekend.

  3. We are on the same wavelength!!!! It is a great tradition! I wonder why the floral industry quit pushing it!

  4. Dear Lindaraxa,

    This is a lovely tradition and one that was observed in the U.S. when I was growing up also. My Mother would send us down to the lily pond by the house to cut the blooms of a white iris for her and purple irises for each of us to wear to church. It is such a sweet memory. Happy Mother's Day to you and your dear Mother!


  5. I read this post first thing yesterday (Mother's Day) and meant to comment.... I've told several people about this already. What a wonderfully touching tradition. Yes, there are times when I miss my Mother: just the knowing I could call her, knowing that, no matter what, she wanted to hear from me and always wanted to hear my stories. But now, of course, I can listen (endlessly??) to my daughter!


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