Mother's Day

The Forgotten Histrory of Mother's Day

Mother's Day in the United States has a rich history that intertwines the celebration of motherhood with themes of peace and reconciliation. The idea was first conceptualized by Ann Reeves Jarvis before the American Civil War as "Mothers' Day Work Clubs" to teach women how to care for their children. These clubs played a role in unifying the nation post-war, with Jarvis organizing "Mothers' Friendship Day" to foster peace between former Union and Confederate soldiers.

The official Mother's Day holiday arose in the 1900s due to the efforts of Ann's daughter, Anna Jarvis. After her mother's death in 1905, Anna envisioned Mother's Day as a way to honor the sacrifices mothers made for their children. With financial backing from a Philadelphia department store owner, John Wanamaker, she organized the first official Mother's Day celebration in Grafton, West Virginia, in 1908. The celebration quickly gained popularity and by 1912, many states, towns, and churches had adopted Mother’s Day as an annual holiday.

Jarvis continued her campaign, and her determination paid off in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. Interestingly, Anna Jarvis would later oppose the commercialization of the holiday, spending her later years campaigning against the very holiday she helped to create due to its commercial exploitation.

Traditionally, Mother's Day involved attending church services and the wearing of white carnations as a badge, which was Anna Jarvis's mother's favorite flower. This flower came to symbolize the purity of a mother's love. As time passed, the celebration evolved to include giving mothers various gifts like cards and flowers, symbolizing love and appreciation.

Mother's Day has its global variations as well, with different countries celebrating in diverse ways, but the core sentiment remains the celebration and appreciation of mothers and motherhood.

The information above synthesizes content from Britannica​ (Encyclopedia Britannica)​, History​ (The HISTORY Channel)​, and Wikipedia​ (Wikipedia)​.

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