History of Mother’s Day
Mother’s Day is celebrated to honor mothers and express gratitude for all they do in bringing up children. Most countries including the United States, Australia, Canada, and India celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May.
The origin of Mother’s Day goes back to the era of the ancient Greeks and Romans. The roots of Mother’s Day can also be traced in the United Kingdom of GreateBritain and Ireland where a Mothering Sunday was celebrated. The day came into existence as a U.S. Holiday thanks to the efforts of Julia Ward Howe and Anna Jarvis.
Julia Ward Howe
The idea of officially celebrating of a Mother’s Day in the U.S. was perhaps first publicly suggested by Julia Ward Howe in 1872. An activist, writer, and poet, Julia was well known for her famous Civil War song, “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Julia Ward Howe suggested that June 2 be annually celebrated as Mother’s Day, and that it be dedicated to peace. She wrote a passionate appeal to women and urged them to speak out against war in her famous Mother’s Day Proclamation, written in Boston in 1870. She also initiated a Mothers’ Peace Day observance on the second Sunday in June in Boston and held the meeting for a number of years. Julia tirelessly championed the cause of an official celebration of Mother’s Day. Her idea spread, though we now celebrate in May, not June.
Anna Jarvis is widely recognized as the Founder of Mother’s Day in the U.S. Though Anna Jarvis never married and never bore children, she is known as the Mother of Mother’s Day, an apt title for the lady who worked hard to bestow honor on all mothers.
Anna Jarvis cited her own mother, Mrs. Anna Marie Reeves Jarvis, as her inspiration for celebrating Mother’s Day. An activist and social worker, Mrs. Jarvis expressed her desire that someday someone must honor all mothers, living and dead, and pay tribute to the contributions made by them.
A loving daughter, Anna never forgot her mother’s words, and when her mother died in 1905, she resolved to fulfill her mother’s desire of memorializing a Mother’s Day. To begin with, Anna arranged for carnations to be displayed during local church services. Carnations were her mother’s favorite flower, and Anna felt that they symbolized a mother’s pure love. Later, Anna along with her supporters wrote letters to people in positions of power lobbying for the official declaration of Mother’s Day as a holiday. The efforts brought results. By 1911, Mother’s Day was celebrated in almost every state in the Union. On May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a Joint Resolution designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.