About Mother's Day: The Origin, History, and Story
Mother's Day, like most present-day holidays, has its roots from religion. The tradition began as Mothering Sunday, which is still celebrated in many parts of the world. This day, the fourth Sunday of Lent, is also known as Laetare Sunday to Catholics. Laetare Sunday is the celebration of mother of Jesus's birth.
Even though Mothering Sunday is used as a day to celebrate mothers, historically the day was seen as strictly a religious holiday.
This is why Julia Ward Howe started the call for a Mother's Day in the United States. In 1870, she wrote the "Mother's Day Proclamation" in hopes to begin the celebration. And over the next few decades, it did. But only on the local level.
Nonetheless, the celebration of Mother's Day still wasn't wide spread in the early 1900s. Anna Jarvis set out to change that.1,2 She dreamed of making it a national holiday. However, her success didn't begin until the Philadelphia merchant John Wanamaker stepped in to help.
At this point, Jarvis began trademarking phrases such as "second Sunday in May" and "Mother's Day" in the United States to help spark interest. She also created the Mother's Day International Association in hopes of finding support for her cause.
In 1914, Woodrow Wilson granted Jarvis's wish and made Mother's Day an official holiday. On May 9, 1914, President Wilson issued a proclamation declaring the first national Mother's Day.
Several years after the days official creation, the holiday became so commercialized that even its creator considered it a "Hallmark Holiday". She spent all of her inheritance fighting what she saw as an abuse of the celebration.
Jarvis later said she wishes she never started the holiday since it became so out of control. Maybe she is right.
Today, Mother's Day is the most popular day of the year to dine in a restaurant. In total, Americans spend about $2.8 billion Mother's Day and accounts for 7.8% of the total jewelry industry's revenue.
- In 1868 Anna's mother, Ann, created a committee to establish "Mother's Friendship Day" which was meant to reunite families after the Civil War. She died in 1905. This led to Anna's efforts to establish a Mother's Day to celebrate mothers.
- Jarvis wasn't the first to publically call for a national Mother's Day holiday. That honor goes to Frank E. Hering in 1904. All previous calls for the holiday were for other purposes, not to celebrate mothers specifically.