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Mother's Day: A Closer Look

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. Let's all take a closer look at the early beginnings of this event specially made for our dear mothers and learn more about how it all began.

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Mother's Day: A Closer Look

Amit Bhuta

Although he was born in India, Amit Bhuta has been living in South Florida for over 40 years and truly loves everything about his home in Miami. ...

Although he was born in India, Amit Bhuta has been living in South Florida for over 40 years and truly loves everything about his home in Miami. ...

May 6 3 minutes read

Modern Mother's Day

It all began in the United States, at the initiative of Ann Reeves Jarvis in the early 20th century. 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).

Gone But Not Forgotten

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".

A National Event

In 1908, the U.S. Congress rejected a proposal to make Mother's Day an official holiday. 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.

An Unexpected Result

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.

A Legacy is Born

In 1912 Anna Jarvis trademarked the phrase "Second Sunday in May, Mother's Day, Anna Jarvis, Founder", 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."

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