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All About Mother’s Day

I was fascinated by the history and background of Mother’s Day and thought I would share it with you.  For example, do you know why Mother’s Day is always celebrated on the second Sunday in May?   

Where Did Mother’s Day Begin?

In ancient Greece each Spring the people paid tribute to Rhea, the Mother of the Gods.  In early England homage was paid to mothers on “Mothering Sunday” the fourth Sunday of Lent.

In 1872, Julia Ward Howe (who wrote the words to the Battle hymn of the Republic) suggested the idea of Mother’s Day but it was Miss Anna M. Jarvis (1864-1948) of Philadelphia who began a letter-writing campaign to a variety of influential people that made Mother’s Day a national holiday.

Why did Miss Jarvis think it was so important to have Mother’s Day?

Miss Jarvis was very close to her mother Mrs. Anna Reese Jarvis.  Anna’s mother died in May of 1905, when Anna was 41 years of age.  Anna was not married and from the time of her mother’s death cared for her blind sister, Ellsinore. 

Anna missed her mother very much and felt that children should appreciate their mother’s more while they’re still alive.  Anna hoped Mother’s Day would increase respect and love and strengthen family bonds.

So When Was The First Mother’s Day?

In 1907, Anna persuaded her mother’s church in Grafton, West Virginia to celebrate Mother’s Day on the second anniversary of her mother’s death, the 2nd Sunday of May.  By the next year, 1908, Mother’s Day was also celebrated in Philadelphia.

In 1910, the first Mother’s Day proclamation was issued by the governor of West Virginia.  Oklahoma celebrated Mother’s Day that year also.  By 1911, every state observed Mother’s Day.  The Mother’s Day International Association was incorporated on December 12, 1912, with the purpose of furthering meaningful observations of Mother’s Day.

When Did Mother’s Day Become Official?

In May 1913, the House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution requesting the President, his Cabinet, members of Congress, and all officials of the federal government to wear a white carnation on Mother’s Day.  Congress passed another Joint Resolution May 8, 1914, designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

On Mother’s Day, the U.S. flag is to be displayed on government buildings and at people’s homes “as a public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.”  President Woodrow Wilson issued the first proclamation making Mother’s Day an official national holiday.

Many People Give Roses On Valentines Day Is There A Particular Flower I Should Give My Mom On Mother’s Day?

Miss Anna Jarvis’s mother’s favorite flower was the white carnation.  This flower was chosen to represent the sweetness, purity and endurance of mother love.  However, the red carnation has since become the symbol of a living mother while white signifies that one’s mother has died.

Do Other Countries Celebrate Mother’s Day?

They certainly do!  Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Australia and Belgium celebrate Mother’s Day on the same day as the United States.  Other countries celebrate Mother’s Day as well though not on the same day.

Make sure you have a definite plan to honor the Mother(s) in your life this Sunday, May 8.

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