The Establishment of Mother's Day in the United States:
The modern holiday of Mother's Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew's Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. 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 that they were "the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world".
In 1908, the US Congress rejected a proposal to make Mother's Day an official holiday, joking that they would have to proclaim also a "Mother-in-law's Day". However, owing to the efforts of Anna Jarvis, by 1911 all US 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.
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. Jarvis argued that people should appreciate and honor their mothers through handwritten letters expressing their love and gratitude, instead of buying gifts and pre-made cards. Jarvis protested at a candy makers' convention in Philadelphia in 1923, and at a meeting of American War Mothers in 1925. By this time, carnations had become associated with Mother's Day, and the selling of carnations by the American War Mothers to raise money angered Jarvis, who was arrested for disturbing the peace.
In 1912 Anna Jarvis trademarked the phrases "Second Sunday in May" and "Mother's Day", 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." This is also the spelling used by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in his 1914 presidential proclamation, by the U.S. Congress in relevant bills, and by various U.S. presidents in their proclamations concerning Mother's Day.
I found this information to be interesting and thought Anna Jarvis was quite a radical activist for her time. I also tend to agree with Anna's disgust with the commercialism of Mother's Day. Although, I have to admit, a flower and/or candy is not truly disgustful in my eyes. As my kids were going up, I treasured and still treasure all of their homemade cards.
I'd like to wish All Mother's, God Mother's, Mother's of doggies and kitties and any kind of animals, where any sort of mothering is involved, a Very Special Day!
I had no idea what the origin of Mother's Day was. How interesting, and I do agree about the commercialism too. I keep all my handmade things. Happy Mother's Day to you too, Cathrina! :)ReplyDelete
Happy Mother's Day to you too, Christine!Delete
Thanks for sharing this. I had no idea how it came about either. It's sad that all holidays have become commercialized, largely losing their meaning, except as a marker for a day off from work.ReplyDelete
Imagine a company commercializing a holiday! *please note the sarcasm*ReplyDelete
I'm not surprised it became commercialized, but I enjoyed learning how Mother's Day was created. Anna Jarvis seems like she had her mother's spirit in her fight to create Mother's Day.
Happy Mother's Day!
I enjoyed researching Mother's Day, interesting. Thank you Cherie.Delete
I had read this somewhere before. She is right but she must be rolling over in her grave now considering how much the stores want people to spend moneyReplyDelete
Who knew?! I want to go rowing and have a picnic in Central Park on my mother's day. My sons and the hubby all want to do different things. Grrr. Oldest son wants to sleep late, younger son will go rowing, the hubby wants to head to the country and not row. What's a mom to do?!ReplyDelete
Hahaaa....I hear you!Delete
What a fascinating story. When I grew up in Russia, we didn't have a specific Mother's Day. We celebrated mothers on the international women's day, March 8th. But I agree with Anna Jarvis: Mother's Day should be a holiday. Mothers deserve recognition. Even the commercial side of this holiday, like every other holiday, doesn't repulse me. If it spurs some people to spend on gifts for their mothers, all the better. I'd like my son to buy me gifts on every Mother's Day. Alas. He never does. :(ReplyDelete
have you tried giving your son a hint! Happy Mother's Day!Delete
I wish I could have met her. Interesting lady and interesting origins of the celebration!ReplyDelete
She must've been quite a powerhouse for that time in history.Delete