Monday, April 30, 2012

History of Mother's Day goes back to the Civil War

It's the 2nd Sunday in May -- the day we honor Mom. It's an international celebration, but it's origins are purely American.

Mother's Day - A Christian, Patriotic Holiday


Civil War Memorial 


It's origins go back to the American Civil War when groups of mothers whose sons fought or died on both sides of the war would gather to support each other. In 1868, Ann Jarvis began a committee to establish "Mother's Friendship Day" to reunite families which had been divided during the war. Her goal was to expand it to an annual memorial for mothers, but died in 1905 before the celebration became official. Her daughter, Anna Marie Jarvis would continue her efforts.

A Retailer Joins the Movement 


Miss Jarvis established the present Mother's Day holiday with the help of John Wanamaker, a Philadelphia merchant, after her mother passed on May 9, 1905. A service was held on May 12, 1907 in a church in Grafton, West Virginia where Ann Jarvis taught Sunday School. The first "official" celebration was held on May 10, 1908 in the same church followed by a larger ceremony in the Wanamaker Auditorium in their store in Philadelphia. The following year, it was celebrated widely in New York.

It's Official 


In 1910, Mother's Day was declared an official holiday in West Virginia and other states followed. On May 8, 1914, the U.S. Congress passed a law designating the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day along with a proclamation. President Woodrow Wilson issued the proclamation on May 9, 1914 and American's are to show the flag in honor of those mothers who's sons had died in war.



My mom loves carnations. They last longer than roses and their fragrance is enchanting. Carnations are the official flower of Mother's Day and that tradition goes back to Anna Jarvis who delivered 500 carnations at its first celebration in 1908. Many churches later adopted the custom of giving away carnations on Mother's Day.



It didn't take long for Mother's Day to become a retailer's dream. Nine years after the first official Mother's Day, founder Anna Jarvis became an opponent of the holiday she started because she thought it was an abuse of the celebration. She considered greeting cards as a sign of people being too lazy to write a letter. In 1948 she was arrested for disturbing the peace while protesting against the commercialization. 

She finally said she, "...wished she would have never started the day because it became so out of control..." She passed away later that year.

If it wasn't for Mother's Day's commercial value, it would have not have lasted nor become such a popular holiday.

A Treasured Occasion

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