Devoted Beginning of Mother’s Day

Anna Sturgeon, Staff writer

Mother’s Day is a worldwide holiday celebrating motherhood and the sacrifices moms make for their children. In the US, children present mothers with flowers, cards, and other tokens of love. Mother’s Day originated from many movements organized by women.

Mother’s Day mostly originated in the 19th century in the United States, West Virginia, with Ann Reeves Jarvis. Ann had helped create a series of clubs that helped teach the local women how to care for their children properly. These were called the “Mother’s Day Work Clubs.” In 1868, during the Civil War, these clubs became a unifying force. Here, the mothers gathered with some former Union and Confederate soldiers who wanted to promote reconciliation. These clubs gained the name “Mother’s Friendship Day.” Around the same time, in 1870, Julia Ward Howe, an abolitionist, and suffragette wrote a call to action that asked mothers to unite to promote world peace. This writing was known as the “Mother’s Day Proclamation.” By 1873, Howe campaigned for a “Mother’s Peace Day” to be celebrated every June 2.

As a result of the efforts of Anna Jarvis, the daughter of Ann Jarvis, the official Mother’s Day holiday arose in the 1900s. With her mom’s death, Anna Jarvis had envisioned Mother’s Day as a way to honor mothers and the sacrifices they make for their children. With the success of the first Mother’s Day, Jarvis began fighting to get the holiday on the national calendar, arguing that the existing holidays were biased towards male achievement. She gained the support of newspapers and prominent politicians with her massive letter-writing campaign. By 1914, President Woodrow Wilson officially established Mother’s Day to be the second Sunday in May.

Anna Jarvis’s original idea for Mother’s Day was for people to celebrate the relationship between mothers and family. However, with being a national holiday comes the inevitable commercialism. In 1920, Jarvis became disgusted with the commercialism of Mother’s Day. She loudly urged people to stop buying the commercialized flowers, cards, and sweets. Eventually, she resorted to campaigning against Mother’s Day and launched lawsuits against groups that used the name “Mother’s Day.” She has lobbied the government to see Mother’s Day removed from the calendar. Jarvis spent most of her wealth in legal fees, and by her death, she had disowned the holiday altogether. Today, Mother’s Day has me come one of the largest consumer spending holidays.