Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Carnations for Mom

With Mother's Day fast approaching, I wanted to make something for my Etsy shop to commemorate the day. The carnation is traditionally the symbol of Mother's Day, with a red or pink one being worn if one's mother is living, and a white one if she is no longer alive.

I decided to crochet some carnation pins/brooches that would always stay fresh.

I found out some pretty interesting facts about carnations and Mother's Day and thought I'd share...

The carnation is the January birth flower, the state flower of Ohio, and the first wedding anniversary flower.

The pink carnation signifies a mother's love, coming from the belief that they first appeared as Jesus carried the Cross, and Mary wept as he passed by, pink carnations springing up from her fallen tears. They  are also a symbol of gratitude.

Red carnations symbolize love and affection and white carnations represent pure love and good luck.

Mother's Day had its beginnings in the US when, in 1907, Anna Jarvis handed out carnations to all the mothers at her mother's church.  She chose white ones since that was her mother's favorite flower.  When her mother died in 1905, Anna dedicated her life to her mother's project to establish a special day to honor all mothers, living or deceased. She campaigned to make “Mother’s Day” a nationally recognized holiday.

In 1914 Congress passed a Joint Resolution, signed by President Woodrow Wilson, and Mother's Day was officially established. It was to emphasize women's role in the family.

Now don't think Anna was this sweet little lady handing out flowers.  Far from it -- turns out that she felt that the newly established Mother's Day was being exploited by the floral industry. In a press release she stated  "What will you do to route charlatans, bandits, pirates, racketeers, kidnappers and other termites that would undermine with their greed one of the finest, noblest and truest movements and celebrations?"  (I love the part about the termites!)

Anna was definitely an activist. In 1923 she filed a suit against New York's Governor over a Mother's Day celebration. The suit was thrown out and "Anna the Activist" (my title) began a public protest and was arrested for disturbing the peace.

In the 1930s, Anna disrupted a meeting of the American War Mothers by protesting their sale of white carnations for Mother's Day.  She was removed by the police!!

Over the years, she continued to be concerned over the commercialization of Mother's Day: "I wanted it to be a day of sentiment, not profit." She was against the selling of flowers and felt that the sending of greeting cards was "a poor excuse for the letter you are too lazy to write."

Another quote from Anna: "... And candy! You take a box to Mother — and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment."

In a funny/sad twist of fate, old Anna (who, by the way, never married or had children) was confined to a nursing home, penniless.  She never knew that her bills were paid by the Florist's Exchange!!

Of course, Mother's Day is the number one sales day for florists and card shops.
Well, I hope you learned a few interesting facts (all found with web searches and paraphrased)!!!

Now forget about Anna the activist and go and buy a card, a gift and some flowers for Mom......maybe a phone call (not a text!) and lunch (you pay!!)

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