History and Story Behind Mother's Day Part 3

About the origins of Mother's Day in the United States, history and information about the holiday.

How Celebrated Today--Mother's Day has been almost totally transformed into a secular holiday. The main props are flowers and gifts. The white carnation Miss Jarvis promoted, "because it typifies the beauty, truth, and fidelity of mother love," is now worn in memory of a deceased mother, while red carnations have been introduced to honor a living mother. On this day children are reminded to send their mothers bouquets of flowers, plants, boxes of candy, or to send wires or make telephone calls.

Mother's Day has received 2 severe blows in recent times. The 1st blow came from the increasing popularity of psychiatry. As H. R. Hays noted, society learned from Freud "that the innocence of childhood and the purity of women, 2 of its favorite illusions, were pure myth." The 2nd blow was administered in May, 1942, by Philip Wylie in his sensational book, Generation of Vipers, in which he brutally attacked the cult of mother worship and momism. Wylie said: "Megaloid momworship has got completely out of hand. . . . The machine has deprived her of social usefulness; time has stripped away her biological possibilities and poured her hide full of liquid soap; and man has sealed his own soul beneath the clamorous cordillera by handing her the checkbook and going to work in the service of her caprices . . . . The mealy look of men today is the result of momism and so is the pinched and baffled fury in the eyes of womankind."

It might be added that on March 5, 1934, a Mother-in-Law Day was added to the roster of holidays, conceived in Amarillo, Tex., by Gene Howe, publisher-editor of the Amarillo Daily News, and inspired by his desire to honor his mother-in-law, Mrs. W. F. Donald

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