As usual, I began my Sunday with Weekend Edition.

I don't know why I still listen to NPR other than the fact that I was raised on a steady diet of Public Radio and Public Television. Very odd, considering my father's right-leaning tendencies. (BTW, that was a HUGE understatement)

Anyway, the lead in to a cookbook commentary caught my attention. I cannot quote the entire sentence, but the phrase that snapped was, "On Mother's Day, that most Hallmark of holidays..."

I may have to write a letter. I just cannot let this go unchecked. Hallmark Holiday is a rather snarky term to describe holidays that exist for commercial purposes. Sweetest Day is one that comes to mind.

Mother's Day, on the other hand, finds its American roots from Civil War era activism. Julia Ward Howe wrote her Mother's Day Proclamation in 1870. However, Howe herself was influenced by the efforts of an Appalachian woman named Anna Jarvis, and it was Anna's daughter who worked to found a memorial day for women.

The first Mother's Day celebration was held at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church on 1908. President Wilson named the first national Mother's Day in 1914. Hallmark Cards was founded in 1910. To this day, Mother's Day is celebrated in conjunction with the Festival of the Christian Home in the UMC.

While I can completely agree that greeting card companies benefit greatly from Mother's Day and other such holidays, can you blame them? They are, after all, in business to make money. But let's not get carried away. If we think a holiday has gotten away from its intent, perhaps we should examine how we ourselves celebrate. When I was a girl, Mother's Day usually meant breakfast in bed for Mom-- which of course meant she was stuck in bed until 8:30 or 9:00. There were cards, and often a corsage. Mostly, it was a day to remember what is so often forgotten-- to say, "Thank you, Mom."


wolske said…
You linked to Wikipedia: "A Hallmark holiday is a disparaging term used to describe a holiday that exists primarily for commercial purposes, rather than to commemorate a truly significant religious or secular event."

Mother's Day does not commemorate a significant religious or secular event, or an event of any kind, so I think the description is valid. See also: Administrative Professionals Day.
However, the holiday doesn't exist primarily for commercial purposes. Furthermore, I would venture to say that mothers are truly significant. At least, the ones I know are.
Big Red said…
MOthers AND Teachers are very important, Mother's day should not be considered a "Hallmark Holiday" in my book, because it is not just some ad agency's idea to make someone feel the need to buy Greeting Cards. Now, Jump Day, that's a crock of you know what, check that puile of crap out at

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