As we find ourselves on the precipice of Mother’s Day once again…

William: 1 month old


…I wonder when Mother’s Day became a holiday.  The Google Machine is such a fantastic thing and I’ve decided to share with you my findings on the origins of Mother’s Day.  I hope you like history lessons…as I’ve been known to go off on quite a tangent, teaching people about the most random things that I’ve learned on the internet.


Mother’s Day is centuries old.  The earliest celebrations can be traced to the spring celebrations in ancient Greece in honor of Rhea, the Mother of the Gods.  The early Christians in England celebrated a day to honor Mary, the mother of Christ, in the 1600’s.  Later, by religious order, the celebration was extended to all mothers and was thus named Mothering Sunday.  Mothering Sunday was celebrated on the 4th Sunday after Lent.

As time progressed, the tradition slowly died out.  Eventually, the English colonists settled in America and stopped celebrating Mothering Sunday all together.

Modern Mother’s Day

As a modern holiday in the United States, the first Mother’s Day celebration was in 1908.  Anna Jarvis held a memorial at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia on May 10, 1908 to honor her own mother, Ann Jarvis, who had died in 1905.  and started what would soon after become a day to celebrate mothers.  In 1908, the United States Congress rejected the proposal to make Mother’s Day a holiday.  Anna Jarvis persevered, she continued to campaign for Mother’s Day to be an official holiday and by 1911 all of the states observed the holiday.  Then, in 1914, Anna saw the success she had been working for; President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother’s Day a national holiday, to be held on the second Sunday in May.

Anna Jarvis, just a decade after it’s inception, saw the commercialization of this holiday that she held so near to her heart.  It angered her greatly to see this, but she was helpless to do much about it.  She staged boycotts and threatened lawsuits against the companies that she felt had exploited the idea of Mother’s Day.  In 1925, she was arrested for disturbing the peace while protesting at a meeting of the American War Mothers.

Mother’s Day is one of the most commercially successful U.S. occasions.  According to the National Restaurant Association, Mothers Day is the most popular day of the year to dine out in the United States.  My, what would she think if she were still alive today…?  Interesting point to note:  Anna Jarvis never had any children.

What’s in a name?

Anna Jarvis was very particular about how the holiday was spelled.  She didn’t want people to celebrate all mothers; she wanted the day to be a celebration of your own mother.

Mother’s Day, Internationally

Mother’s Day is celebrated at different times throughout the year, for many different reasons by numerous countries worldwide.  In Thailand, Mother’s day is celebrated on the birthday of the Queen of Thailand.  In Panama, Mother’s Day is December 8th, the same day as the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  In Ethiopia, Mother’s Day is actually three days at the end of the rainy season.


So, remember to tell your mother Happy Mother’s Day tomorrow.  If you want to make Anna Jarvis’ ghost happy, perhaps you shouldn’t give her that card with a silly knock-knock joke on it and you should cancel those flowers you ordered last night from 1-800flowers.  Or you could embrace the commercialism and add Sherri’s Berries to her Mother’s Day surprise!  Either way, remember to call her tomorrow.  And you should probably apologize for all the crap you put her through when you little…I’m just sayin’.

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