The History Of Mother's Day

The History Of Mother's Day

Mother’s Day is a (holiday) that was established to allow children to honor their mothers. In the United States it is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. The countries of Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Italy, and Turkey also observe it on this day. Other countries celebrate their version of Mother’s Day at different times throughout the year. How the day is celebrated is remarkably similar throughout the world.

The exact origins of how Mother’s Day began, along with who started it, are the subject of much debate. Several historians give credit to different people, usually women. The two most often named are Julia Ward Howe and Anna Jarvis.

Julia Ward Howe is best known for writing the famous poem. The Battle Hymn of the Republic. As her fame spread, she began to be asked to speak publicly about her experiences with the war. What she saw during that time influenced her belief that peace was one of the two most important causes in the world, along with equality. In 1870, when war again invaded the world with the Franco-Prussian War, she called for women to rise up and oppose all war. Unfortunately her attempt, known as a Mother’s Day for Peace, was not successful.

Previously, in 1858, a young Appalachian homemaker had attempted to improve sanitation by establishing what she called Mothers’ Work Days. She continued her efforts throughout the period of the Civil War, working for more sanitary conditions on both sides. Her name was Anna Jarvis, and upon her death her daughter, also named Anna Jarvis, took up the attempt to establish a day for children to honor their mothers.

The daughter, Anna, organized the first memorial service for mothers on May 10, 1907, at her mother’s church in West Virginia. Then she, along with many others began a letter writing campaign to establish a national Mother’s Day. President Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation in 1914, establishing a national observance of Mother’s Day every year on the second Sunday in May.

At that time a tradition was established of using carnations to celebrate the holiday. A white carnation honored a mother that was deceased, while a pink carnation honored a mother that was living.

Today, while flowers are still given, other gifts are also traditional. (Gift baskets) and boxes of chocolates are extremely popular. Younger children often make special gifts and cards that their mothers treasure. Of course the most popular gift is giving mom the day off, and doing all of the cooking and cleaning for her.


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