The History of Mother's Day

By: Emily Allison Email
By: Emily Allison Email

Mother’s Day is held on the second Sunday of May, in the United States. It’s day where young and old honor their mothers in a variety of ways.

Mother’s Day was first initiated in 1907, after Philadelphia Schoolteacher Anna M. Jarvis began a movement to make a national holiday, which would honor mothers annually.

Anna acquired the support and help from businessmen, legislators, and community members alike to create this special day for moms.

In 1908, she petitioned the superintendent of the Andrew's Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia, where her mother, Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis, had spent over 20 years teaching Sunday School.

From that petition, her request was honored, and on May 10th, 1908, the first official Mother's Day celebration took place at Andrew's Methodist Church, as well as another church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The observance paid homage to Anna’s mother, which drew a congregation of 407.

Anna presented her mother’s favorite flowers, carnations, to all mothers in attendance.

Today, carnations are still a popular flower to adorn mothers with on Mother’s Day. White carnations are used to pay tribute to mothers who are deceased, while pink or red carnations are presented to moms that are still living.

After the first observance of Mother’s Day, it wasn’t until 1914, that the second Sunday in May became a national holiday. President Woodrow Wilson made the day an annual occurrence so mothers nationwide could be honored.


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