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Sunday
May132018

Carnations for Mums

I am sure I remember back in the day florists were pushing the slogan ‘mums for mums’ – chrysanthemums that is – as a proper floral offering for Mother’s Day. But I learned this week that in fact it was once carnations that were synonymous for mother love in Australia and New Zealand.

This tradition of gifting carnations was in fact borrowed from the US, from one Anna Jarvis who in 1908 revived the movement to establish an official Mother’s Day – and white carnations were her mother’s favourite flower.

More than a hundred years later, we traditionally show our appreciation for our mothers and make them feel special, celebrating with gifts or outings – but most importantly time, if we are able. However, the origins of Mother’s Day lie in quite a different cause: an anti-war movement during the American Civil War in the 1870s. Originally it was a call to mothers to promote peace and protest the killing of sons by other sons, and was started by activist Julia Howe.

Decades later, Jarvis wished to honour her own mother who had been active during the war, and in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson formally established the day. Today Mother’s Day is celebrated in over 100 nations.

Maybe carnations simply went out of fashion, as did chrysanthemums. I’ll be giving my mum Christmas lilies, one of her favourite flowers, but here I am in a photo out of the archives wearing a vintage 1950s velvet half-hat decked with silk carnations. The flowers look extraordinarily realistic.

However you show your love for your mum, I hope you have a beautiful day!

Photos: September 2012

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