Mother’s Day is a celebration honoring the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. It is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, most commonly in the months of March or May. It complements similar celebrations honoring family members, such as Father’s Day, Siblings Day, and Grandparents Day.
The History of Mother’s Day 2019 dates back to the 19th century, when women’s peace groups in United States of America often tried to establish holidays and regular activities in favor of peace and against war. A common regular activity was the meeting of groups of mothers whose sons had fought or died in the American Civil War.
In 1868, Ann Jarvis, created a committee to establish a “Mother’s Friendship Day” in order to reunite families that had been divided during the Civil War. There were several limited observances in the 1870s and the 1880s but none achieved recognition beyond that. At the time, Protestant schools in the United States already held many celebrations and In New York City, Julia Ward Howe led an anti-war observance (Mother’s Day for Peace) on June 2, 1872 which was accompanied by a holiday nowadays known as Mother’s Day Proclamation.
Several years later a Mother’s Day observance on May 13, 1877 was held in Albion, Michigan over a dispute related to the temperance movement which celebrates Juliet Calhoun Blakeley who stepped up to complete the sermon of the distraught Rev. Myron Daughterty and because of her actions, her sons paid tribute to her each year and urged others to honor their mothers.
In the early 1880s, the Methodist Episcopal Church in Albion set aside the second Sunday in May to recognize the special contributions of mothers. In its present form, Mother’s Day was established by Anna Jarvis with the help of John Wanamaker following the death of her mother, Ann Jarvis, on May 9, 1905. The official service was on May 10, 1908, and the next year the day was reported to be widely celebrated in New York.
Jarvis then campaigned to establish Mother’s Day as a United States national holiday and then later as an international holiday. The holiday was declared officially by the state of West Virginia in 1910, and the rest of the states followed quickly
This is not (directly) related to the many traditional celebrations of mothers and motherhood that have existed throughout the world over thousands of years, such as the Greek cult to Cybele, the Roman festival of Hilaria, or the Christian Mothering Sunday celebration (originally a commemoration of Mother Church, not motherhood). However, in some countries, Mother’s Day is still synonymous with these older traditions.
Establishment of holiday
The modern holiday of Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. St Andrew’s Methodist Church now holds the International Mother’s Day Shrine. Her campaign to make Mother’s Day a recognized holiday in the United States began in 1905, the year her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died. Ann Jarvis had been a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War, and created Mother’s Day Work Clubs to address public health issues. Anna Jarvis wanted to honor her mother by continuing the work she started and to set aside a day to honor all mothers because she believed a mother is “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world”.
In 1908, the U.S. Congress rejected a proposal to make Mother’s Day an official holiday, joking that they would also have to proclaim a “Mother-in-law’s Day”. However, owing to the efforts of Anna Jarvis, by 1911 all U.S. states observed the holiday, with some of them officially recognizing Mother’s Day as a local holiday (the first being West Virginia, Jarvis’ home state, in 1910). In 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother’s Day, held on the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers.
Although Jarvis was successful in founding Mother’s Day, she became resentful of the commercialization of the holiday. By the early 1920s, Hallmark Cards and other companies had started selling Mother’s Day cards. Jarvis believed that the companies had misinterpreted and exploited the idea of Mother’s Day, and that the emphasis of the holiday was on sentiment, not profit. As a result, she organized boycotts of Mother’s Day, and threatened to issue lawsuits against the companies involved Jarvis argued that people should appreciate and honor their mothers through handwritten letters expressing their love and gratitude, instead of buying gifts and pre-made cards. Jarvis protested at a candy makers’ convention in Philadelphia in 1923, and at a meeting of American War Mothers in 1925. By this time, carnations had become associated with Mother’s Day, and the selling of carnations by the American War Mothers to raise money angered Jarvis, who was arrested for disturbing the peace.
In 1912 Anna Jarvis trademarked the phrases “Second Sunday in May” and “Mother’s Day”, and created the Mother’s Day International Association. She specifically noted that “Mother’s” should “be a singular possessive, for each family to honor its own mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world.” This is also the spelling used by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in his 1914 presidential proclamation, by the U.S. Congress in relevant bills, and by various U.S. presidents in their proclamations concerning Mother’s Day.
Dates around the world
While the United States holiday was adopted by some other countries, existing celebrations, held on different dates, honoring motherhood have become described as “Mother’s Day”, such as Mothering Sunday in the United Kingdom or, in Greece, the Eastern Orthodox celebration of the presentation of Jesus Christ to the temple (2 February of Julian Calendar). Both the secular and religious Mother Day are present in Greece. Mothering Sunday is often referred to as “Mother’s Day” even though it is an unrelated celebration.
In some countries, the date adopted is one significant to the majority religion, such as Virgin Mary Day in Catholic countries. Other countries selected a date with historical significance. For example, Bolivia’s Mother’s Day is the date of a battle in which women participated. See the “International history and tradition” section for the complete list.
Some ex-communist countries, such as Russia, celebrated International Women’s Day instead of Mother’s Day or simply celebrate both holidays, which is the custom in Ukraine. Kyrgyzstan has recently introduced Mother’s Day, but “year on year [International Women’s Day] is certainly increasing in status”.