Mother’s Day is more than meets the eye

Roots of the day run deep; official U.S. designation came in 1914

Appearing as a recent phenomenon — promoting the sale of chocolates and greeting cards — Mother’s Day has a rich heritage that carries more history and meaning than we may now recognize.

May 13 will bring about a flurry of tender sentiment accented with flowers and flowery words. The roots of the day, however, run deep.

Fertility and motherhood have been revered in art and ritual since humans began creating a visible record of their civilizations.

Today, virtually every culture has an official day set aside to honor mothers. In England it is called “Mothering Sunday.” In Russia, it is celebrated as part of “International Women’s Day.” In Germany, it is called “Muttertag.”

In other cultures celebration of motherhood may be tied to specific religious or historical figures.

In pre-Shah Iran, during the sixth month of the Muslim calendar, the day is celebrated on the 21st — the birthday anniversary of Fatimah, the Prophet Muhammad’s daughter.

In India, mothers are honored during Durga Ashtami, an event that commemorates the appearance of the feminine consciousness of the cosmos as embodied by the Goddess Durga.

Within Hindu populations in Nepal and elsewhere the day is called “Mata Tirtha Aunshi” or “Mother Pilgrimage Fortnight.”

The U.S. celebration began to become formalized first through the work of Julia Ward Howe, who penned “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Recognizing the tremendous, devastating loss of life during the U.S. Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War, Howe worked tirelessly to unite mothers from both sides of the conflicts to bring about peace.

In 1870 she wrote her “Mother’s Day Proclamation” calling for women to join together in support of disarmament. The text of her moving call for peace includes the following:

“... Arise, all women who have hearts, whether our baptism be of water or of tears!

“Say firmly: ‘We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs ... ’”

The American Mother’s Day finally became official in 1914 through the continued work of Anna Jarvis under the legislation of President Woodrow Wilson.

Jarvis later became distressed by the escalating commercialism of Mother’s Day and encouraged others throughout the remainder of her life to return to the deeper meaning of the celebration.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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