Mother's Day is observed every year on the second Sunday of May. In 2024 Mother's Day is on the 12th of May.
It is a day for celebrating mothers and showering them with gifts and treats. It is not a public holiday, only businesses follow normal Sunday hours.
Anna Maria Jarvis was the creator of Mother's Day in America. She founded it in 1908 but it was made into an official holiday in 1914.
Mother's Day is celebrated across the globe, in Australia, Canada, and India. Some countries such as The United Kingdom celebrate it at a different time of the year.
Mother's Day Origin
Celebrations of motherhood go back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. The Greeks had festivals honoring Rhea and Cybele, known as the mother goddesses. The Romans, on the other hand, celebrated mothers during the festival of Hilaria.
More recently, the roots of the modern Mother's Day celebration can be traced to the Christian observance of Mothering Sunday. This day is observed on the fourth Sunday of Lent, and it is used to symbolize Christians' return to their mother church.
While some countries still celebrate the holiday on this date, in America, it eventually became a secular tradition. Mothering Sunday celebrations gradually disappeared until they were fully merged with Mother's Day in the 1930s.
History of Mother's Day in America and The Women Behind It
Throughout history, there have been many attempts by a few people in America to create a holiday that honors all Mothers.
First, Ann Reeves Jarvis
In the 19th century, Ann Reeves Jarvis set to create the Mother's Day Work Clubs. It was supposed to get all the mothers together who would then share childcare tips and advice. It was a means to honor motherhood and have women supporting each other.
In 1868 Jarvis founded Mother's Friendship Day and had women talking to and supporting the soldiers on both sides of the Civil War to promote peace between them.
Then, Julia Ward Howe
In 1870, Howe, part of the Suffragette movement, thought that women, especially mothers, should unite to advocate for world peace during a war period. For this, she wrote the Mother's Day Proclamation, where she stated that women had the responsibility to shape society at a political level.
In 1872, she unsuccessfully tried to create a celebration of Mother's Day for Peace, to take place annually on June 2nd.
Finally success, with Anna Jarvis
Success finally arrived in the 1900s through the efforts of Anna Jarvis, the daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis. After her mother's death of her, in an attempt to honor her efforts of creating a special way to celebrate mothers, Jarvis set forth and fought for an official day where the sacrifices and achievements of mothers could be celebrated.
She won the support of a Philadelphia businessman named John Wanamaker, and in 1908 the first celebration of Mother's Day took place in the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in West Virginia.
Not content, and with the belief that society was biased towards male achievements, Anna Jarvis believed that Mother's Day should be added to the holidays' calendar. With this in mind, she campaigned with politicians and sent letters to newspapers advocating for the day to be made official.
By 1912 many states had already adopted Mother's Day as a holiday. However, Anna's fight was fruitful in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson officialized Mother's Day as a holiday to be celebrated on the second Sunday of May.
Unfortunately, by 1920, Mother's Day had become a hugely commercialized holiday. This went against Jarvis' wishes of it being a holiday where people merely spent time visiting their mothers, going to church, and reflecting on the importance of motherhood.
Unhappy with what the holiday had become, Anna Jarvis fought against stores selling Mother's Day flowers and gifts and spent all her money on lawsuits against companies who used “Mother's Day” in their advertisements. When this didn't work, she lobbied for Mother's Day to be removed from the calendar, also without success.
Mother's Day Celebration Today
The tradition of gifting mothers on this holiday has prevailed, and people treat their mothers to flowers, chocolates, jewelry, and even spa visits.
Most people will also take their mothers out for dinner, making this the busiest day for restaurants in America.
Cards have also become a huge part of Mother's Day, with card companies selling cards with lovely Mother's Day quotes. Due to this, the holiday has become the third-largest day for card sending in the country.
Mother's Day is always observed on Sundays which makes it one of the most popular churchgoing days in the USA.
As per Hallmark, Mother's Day is the third largest day for sending cards in the US. Around 113 million cards are sent every year.
As per the Society of American Florists, 25% of their flower sales occur on Mother's Day.
In Australia, The Mother's Day Classic is a fun run that takes place every year on Mother's Day as a way to celebrate mothers and raise money for breast cancer.