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The History of Mother's Day

Founded by Anna Jarvis, Mother's Day is a holiday created to honor one's mother. It has since gained in popularity, being celebrated on various days in different countries all over the world. Although the holiday was created in the early 20th century, there were many other holidays, both of Christian and pagan origins, that were created to celebrate and honor the mother which have no relation to the current Mother's Day that got its start in the United States.

Anna Jarvis coined two phrases in 1912, “Mother's Day” and “second Sunday in May,” bringing about the Mother's day International Association. It was upon her specific request that the noun be singular possessive, intending for every family to celebrate their own mother.

The quest to have a day to commemorate mothers has come a long way. The Mother's Day in America was influenced by the British version when Julia Ward Howe, a social activist, imported the holiday after the American Civil War. It was her desire to use the holiday to get women to unite against war. Howe even penned the Mother's Day Proclamation in 1870 as a cry for disarmament and peace. However, this attempt failed, and she was unable to formally receive any kind of recognition of a Mother's Day for Peace.

Many of Howe's ideas were inspired by Ann Jarvis's efforts which began in 1858 to improve sanitary conditions for both Union and Confederate soldiers on what she named Mother's Work Days.

After Ann Jarvis's death, her daughter Anna Jarvis pushed to get a memorial day for women. This effort included passing out white carnations to everyone, symbolizing a mother's pure love. The holiday quickly became popular so much that in only nine years after the first official Mother's Day, Anna Jarvis became disillusioned about its overcommercialization. Mother's Day continues to be a popular holiday to this day, causing people to spend billions every year on merchandise.

Mon, 27 Apr 2009 17:39:50 +0000

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