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Spotlight: Mother’s Day 

Happy Mother’s Day this Sunday to all mothers. Mother's Day in the United States was founded in 1907 by Anna Jarvis in West Virginia. Jarvis whose mother had organized women’s groups to promote friendship and health held a memorial service for her mother on May 12, 1907 in Grafton, West Virginia. Within 5 years almost every state was observing a day for mothers, and in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson declared  Mother's Day to be a national holiday to be celebrated on the second Sunday in May each year. Festivals honoring mothers date to ancient times. The Phrygians (located in modern-day Turkey) held a festival for Cybele, the Great Mother of the Gods. In ancient Greece, each spring celebrations were held to honor Rhea, the goddess of motherhood. 

Mother's Day in the U.S. has evolved over the years. It has become a staple holiday early in May, with the Memorial Day holiday coming at the end of the month. This has happened to the consternation of the founder of Mother’s Day. As early as the 1920s,  Anna Jarvis began speaking out against what she perceived to be the over-commercialism of the holiday. By 1943, Ms. Jarvis began organizing a petition drive to have the national holiday rescinded. Her efforts were unsuccessful and the holiday continued to grow. Today, there are over 150 million cards sold in connection with  Mother's Day each year which represents approximately 25% of greeting cards sold throughout the entire year. More telephone calls are made on Mother's Day than any other day, and Mother's Day remains one of the busiest days in the restaurant industry. 

Many mothers feel that they have their hands full when parenting their children.  According to Guinness World Records, the most children born to one woman is 69. A  Russian woman in the 1700s is documented as giving birth to 69 children over 27  pregnancies, which included 16 sets of twins, 7 sets of triplets, and 4 sets of quadruplets. The animal kingdom also brings us some interesting motherhood facts.  Among mammals, the animal with the longest gestational period is the elephant at 18- 22 months. The Virginian opossum has the shortest gestation at approximately 12 days.  According to Smithsonian Magazine, the largest living mammal is the blue whale. An adult blue whale can weigh up to 400,000 pounds. After birth, blue whale calves gain approximately 200 pounds per day, fueled by the 50 gallons of milk a blue whale mother can produce each day.


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