In the Spring 1908, three years after the death of her Mother Ann Jarvis, Anna Jarvis celebrated the first public Mother’s Day memorial. This open celebration of her Mother’s life and works was held at Andrews Methodist Church in Grafton West Virginia, where Anna’s Mother had worked for twenty years as a Sunday School teacher.
The celebration and memorial was inspired the previous year at a private memorial when Anna had invited friends to her home to celebrate her Mother’s life. During that occasion Anna announced her intentions to create a national celebration day commemorating all Mothers.
Anna established the white carnation as the symbol of the celebration and developed other text and visual tools in honor of the event. It was Anna who coined the term, “Mother’s Day Association”, used during the period she was developing her concept of what Mother’s Day should be.
Since 1908, a celebration for mothers has taken place at the Andrews Methodist Church, now known as the International Mother’s Day Shrine, in the town of Grafton, West Virginia. This historic building has been designated a national historic Landmark and is the focal point in the town’s preparation for a centennial celebration of the first Mother’s Day in May, 2008.
In North America we celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May. This North American event was loosely inspired by the British day and was originally imported by the social activist Julia Ward Howe after the American civil war.
Ms Howe intended the day as a call to unite women against war and in 1870 she wrote the ‘Mother’s Day Proclamation’ as a call for peace and disarmament. Howe failed in her attempt to gain formal recognition of Mother’s Day for Peace.
Ms Howe’s idea was originally influenced by Ann Jarvis who begun a movement back in 1858 to improve sanitation through special days she called ‘Mother’s Work Days.’ Jarvis organized women throughout the Civil War to work for better sanitary conditions for both sides and in 1868 after the war, she worked to help reconcile the Confederate and Union neighbours.
I ordered my Mother’s Day flowers from Brant Florist…
Two years after her Mothers death, in 1907, on the second Sunday in May, Anna invited several friends to her home in Philadelphia, in commemoration of her mother’s life. On this occasion, she announced her idea – a day of national celebration in honor of mother – a Mother’s Day.
The first Mother’s Day Memorial happened on May 10, 1908 and was celebrated in the Church were her Mother Ann Jarvis had worked as a Sunday School teacher. Anna established the white carnation as the symbol of the celebration and developed other text and visual tools in honor of the event.
From this first memorial Sunday, the custom caught on and spread across many of the American states. The holiday was first officially declared by certain states in 1912 and in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson declared the first national Mother’s Day, as a day for American citizens to show the flag in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war.
Mother’s Day continues to this day – albeit with a slightly different theme than President Wilson had indicated – and today is one of the most commercially successful U.S. occasions. According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother’s Day is now the most popular day of the year to dine out at a restaurant in the United States.
In British and Irish Mothering Sunday tradition, a special treat is enjoyed and it’s known as Simnel cake.
Simnel cake is a light fruit cake, similar to a Christmas cake, covered in marzipan, and eaten at Easter in the UK and Ireland. A layer of marzipan or almond paste is also baked into the middle of the cake. On the top of the cake, around the edge, are eleven marzipan balls to represent Continue reading
Like many special occasions, Mother’s Day has become a large commercial event. Mother’s Day gifts including jewelry, candy, flowers, and dining out have made this a great holiday for businesses. According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother’s Day is now the most popular day of the year to dine out.
As with other special occasions, we need to remind ourselves the day is not just about giving gifts and eating fine foods, it’s also about giving appreciation and becoming closer to our Mothers.
If you want to make your Mother’s Day special, give her the gift of time – yours. Spend time with your Mom and if you are short on cash, don’t worry – tidy up, make her dinner, turn the tables and take care of her for a change.
And if you wish to buy her something special, there’s always the ever popular bouquet of flowers. Remember, just about any type of flowers will be well received – after-all she’s your Mother and is unendingly supportive, however white carnations are the official flower of Mother’s Day and you can thank Anna Jarvis for that.