Advertiser Disclosure: We earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

What Is Mother’s Day?

What Is Mother's Day

You will be surprised to know that people make more phone calls on Mother’s Day than any other day of the year?

Celebrated on the second Sunday of May, Mother’s Day is probably one of the warmest holidays. On this day, children shower their moms with gifts and flowers to show their appreciation and love. Though the modern-day celebration for motherhood began in the 1900s thanks to Anna Jarvis’ efforts, researchers have traced its roots back to the ancient Romans and Greeks.

Here’s everything you need to know about the history of this beautiful holiday.

The Origins of Mother’s Day

Mothers have been celebrated for their love and sacrifices since the beginning of time. The ancient Greeks and Romans celebrated festivals dedicated to the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele. Similarly, according to the ancient scriptures, the Hindu festival celebrating the Divine Mother Durga dates back to the 12th century.

However, the earliest predecessor of modern-day Mother’s Day can be found in Mothering Sunday, an important occasion in England and other parts of Europe in the 16th century. On the fourth Sunday of Lent, people would visit their “mother church” – the main family church or cathedral in the vicinity of their home – for a special service. This trip would allow families to reunite. People would also give a day off to their domestic servants, especially women, so they could go and meet their mothers.

Eventually, Mothering Sunday turned into a secular holiday, where children would show appreciation to their mothers by presenting them with flowers. Though it is still celebrated in the UK, the popularity of this custom faded as it merged with American Mother’s Day.

The Pioneers of Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day in the United States dates back to the 19th century when Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia started a “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to help teach women how to look after their young children. Following the Civil War, she used these clubs to promote a message of peace and encourage families to set aside their differences. In 1868, Jarvis organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day” to promote harmony between different factions polarized by the war.

Poet, author, abolitionist, and suffragette Julia Ward Howe is also considered one of the most important figures in celebrating mothers and motherhood. In 1870, she penned the “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” asking mothers to come together and promote world peace. Howe also campaigned for “Mother’s Peace Day” to be celebrated every June 2.

Mother’s Day as a National Holiday

It was the tireless efforts of Anna Jarvis, the daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis, which resulted in Mother’s Day becoming a national holiday in the United States.

In May 1908, Anna Jarvis organized the first official Mother’s Day celebration at a Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia, to honor the sacrifices mothers made for their children. The event was also held to honor her own mother, who had died in 1905. Though Anna Jarvis was unmarried and did not have any children, she dedicated a significant part of her life to ensure the holiday was added to the national calendar.

By 1912, Anna Jarvis had established the Mother’s Day International Association and written letters to dozens of newspapers and prominent political figures to promote her cause. By this time, many states and towns had already adopted the holiday. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure to establish Mother’s Day as a national holiday.

Today, almost every country around the world celebrates Mother’s Day in its unique way.

What Happened to Anna Jarvis?

As the Mother’s Day celebrations began to gain popularity, Anna Jarvis began to feel the flower, greeting cards, and candy industries were using the holiday to make a profit.

She decried the commercialization of the holiday by organizing protests and boycotts.  According to the New York Times report published on May 18, 1923, Anna Jarvis felt Mother’s Day was becoming “a means of profiteering,” as corporations and businesses used the idea to make money without crediting her.

By 1944, Anna Jarvis was involved in 33 lawsuits. She spent the final years of her life in a sanitarium and died in 1948, completely broke.

Celebrating Your Mom on Mother’s Day

Moms deserve to be celebrated all around the year, but Mother’s Day allows children to make up for the lost time by showering their mothers with gifts and flowers. It is a great way of acknowledging the sacrifices made by your mom and presenting her with small tokens of appreciation for everything she has ever done for you.

A Mother’s Day gift doesn’t have to be expensive; it just needs to be personal and meaningful. You can even celebrate the day by volunteering to do the household chores so your mother could have a day off. If you plan to give her a gift, make sure it is thoughtful and creative – something that shows your affection and gratitude.

Here are some gift ideas for Mother’s Day your mom will surely love.

  • Personalized Joycuff Bracelets: You can put a smile on your mom’s face with this trendy stainless steel bracelet featuring a personalized message from you to her. (ASIN: B07XBKFPM7)
  • What I Love About Mom Fill-In-The-Blank Journal: This is a unique Mother’s Day Fill this adorable journal with the things you love about your mom so she can read it again and again. (ASIN: 1601065655)
  • Capsule Letters Message in a Bottle: This gift item includes 90 colorful capsules with a blank piece of paper placed inside. You can add a message to each of the capsules, so your mom can read them on the days when she needs a quick pick-me-up. (ASIN: B0136A7PLM)
  • Personalized Trinket Tray: This ceramic ring holding tray comes with a message that says, “Remember I love you, mom.” It will certainly put your mom in a good mom every time she looks at it. (ASIN: B07CL5J9QX)
  • Sculpted Hand-Painted Figure: This hand-painted figure of a mother embracing her daughter is a perfect gift idea for Mother’s Day. The size of this sculpture is only 8 inches, which means your mom can place it anywhere with ease. (ASIN: B001PPMCS2)

Our Final Thoughts

Mother’s Day is a warm and fuzzy holiday with a powerful and heartbreaking history. Anna Jarvis and numerous other women worked hard to make sure motherhood was celebrated on the national level. They also encouraged families to come together and promoted peace in the aftermath of the Civil War.

Today, Mother’s Day is one of the most popular holidays around the world. Though some countries celebrate it on a different date, this day still revolves around honoring mothers and recognizing their sacrifices.