Mother’s Day History on Mom’s Day

It’s Mother’s Day! The day where we celebrate the ladies who raised us. Some moms pretend they don’t need or want anything today, but don’t make that mistake.

Chocolates, a bouquet of flowers, or a card with a heartfelt message will suffice to make mom feel special.

We can’t forget this classic past photo of the Garden Street Dog taking care of her pups on Mother’s Day.

edhat file photo

What will this busy mom be up to this year? If you see the Garden Street Dog’s outfit, send a pic to


Yes, today’s Mother’s Day is highly commercialized. However, it didn’t start out that way.

Before the Civil War, Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia helped start “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to teach local women how to properly care for their children. In 1868 Jarvis organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” at which mothers gathered with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation.

Abolitionist and suffragette Julia Ward Howe also wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation” in 1870, a call to action that asked mothers to unite in promoting world peace. In 1873 Howe campaigned for a “Mother’s Peace Day” to be celebrated every June 2.

Anna Jarvis, daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis, conceived Mother’s Day as a way of honoring the sacrifices mothers made for their children. In May 1908 she organized the first official Mother’s Day celebration in West Virigina. It was a success and Jarvis—who remained unmarried and childless her whole life—resolved to see her holiday added to the national calendar, arguing that American holidays were biased toward male achievements.

By 1912 many states, towns and churches had adopted Mother’s Day as an annual holiday, and Jarvis had established the Mother’s Day International Association to help promote her cause. In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

The initial idea of personal celebrations, wearing a white carnation, and attending church services was soon taken over by florists, card companies, and other merchants aiming to capitalize on its popularity.

By 1920 she had reportedly become disgusted with how the holiday had been commercialized. She outwardly denounced the transformation and urged people to stop buying Mother’s Day flowers, cards and candies. She then allegedly spent all her inheritance fighting what she saw as an abuse of the day’s true meaning.

While greeting card companies and national retailers are making the big bucks on this day, most Mom’s wouldn’t prefer gifts. According to a recent poll, 54% of moms want “well-behaved kids” for the holiday while 29% would prefer time for themselves.

Edhat Staff

Written by Edhat Staff

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