Mother’s Day History

Red Carnation Drawing

Most countries celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May, while there are some countries that observe Mother’s Day celebration, but not on the same date.

While preparing gifts for your beloved Mom, have you ever wondered about Mother’s Day History and how the occasion came about?

Mother’s Day is a day to honour mothers, grandmothers for their influence and contribution to the home and the society.

This day was originated from Ancient Greece, where the people paid tribute to the Mother of the Gods, Rhea during spring.

Ancient Romans also had a spring festival celebration, Hilaria, dedicated to Cybele, who was also a Mother Goddess. It lasted for three days with parades, games and Masquerades, an event where the participants attend in costumes wearing a mask.

During the 1600s, early Christians in England also celebrate a day to honour Mother Mary, the mother of Christ. This day was known as “Mothering Sunday”, which was celebrated on the 4th Sunday of Lent (the 40 day period leading up to Easter).

In 1872, in the United States, Julia Ward Howe, a writer famous for writing the wrods to the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, suggested the idea of Mother’s Day, but it was Anna Marie Jarvis who began the letter-writing campaign for honouring Mothers, that made Mother’s Day a National Holiday.

Anna Jarvis’s mother, Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis, attempted to improve sanitation through what she called “Mothers Friendship Day”. During the 1900s, where most women devoted their time on their family and homes, Ann was working to assist in the healing of the nation after the Civil War. She organised woman throughout the Civil War to work for better sanitary conditions for both sides and in 1868, she began work to reconcile Union and Confederate neighours.

Ann taught women in her Mothers Friendship Clubs the basics of nursing and sanitation which she learned from her famous physician brother James Reeves, M.D.

Ann died in May 1905, when Anna was 41 years of age. Anna was never married, as she spent her time caring for her ailing mother and her blind sister, Ellsinore. Anna missed her mother and felt that children often neglect and fail to appreciate their mother when they were alive.

In 1907, supported by her friends, Anna decided to dedicate her life to her mother’s cause and to establish Mother’s Day to honour mothers. She started the campaign to urge influential people, ministers, businessmen and congressmen in declaring a national Mother’s Day Holiday.

The first Mother’s Day was observed on 10th May, 1908, by a church service honouring the Late Mrs. Reese Jarvis, in the Andrew Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia.

Mother’s Day International Association started on 12th December, 1912 to promote the occasion. On 9th May, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson declared the second Sunday in May to be Mother’s Day.

Anna’s mother’s favourite flower was the White Carnation, and it was used as the symbol for mothers because the Carnation represents sweetness, purity and endurance of Mother Love.

Today, White Carnations represents a mother who have passed away, while Red Carnations represents a living mother.

When Mother’s Day increased in popularity and was later widely commercialised, Anna Jarvis was upset by her own creation. She filed a lawsuit to stop a Mother’s Day event in 1923 and was even arrested for disturbing the peace at a mother’s day convention where white carnations were being sold. She was never married and died in 1948.

Mother’s Day continues to be a very popular commercial holiday till this date, where popular gifts includes flowers (carnations), candies, and gift cards.

In our modern day, gifts includes tech products, and it was also observed that telephone communication traffic is especially high on this date too. Celebrations are sometimes held at restaurants for a gathering of family members too.


If you are looking for Gift ideas for your Mom this coming Mother’s Day, check these out:


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Mother’s Day History — 5 Comments

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