5 Things You May Not Know About Mother’s Day
For over one hundred years, the United States has celebrated the contributions of Mothers on Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day is not unique to the U.S. and is celebrated in many variations around the world. Here are some interesting facts that explain how Mother’s Day became popular in the U.S.
From The Beginning
Mother’s Day was originally founded to honor fallen soldiers and work towards peace.
In the 1850’s the idea of Mother’s Day sprang from “work clubs” that were created to help tend to soldiers from both sides of the Civil War, to improve living conditions and improve infant health. West Virginia women’s organizer Ann Reeves Jarvis, was instrumental in bringing women together for common causes and the creation of Mother’s Day.
Anna Jarvis helped to get Mother’s Day recognized and then worked even harder to end it.
Anna Jarvis honored her mother’s legacy by carrying on the work of her mother. She worked passionately to see that Mother’s Day was a day that was recognized and she was responsible for introducing it to several American cities.
The Flower of Mother’s Day
Carnations were the original symbol of Mother’s Day.
The American War Mothers group sold carnations to raise funds every year on Mother’s Day. Anna Jarvis crashed one of their conventions to protest what she saw as their misuse of the holiday and was arrested.
Mother’s Day Goes Commercial
Mother’s Day is the 3rd most profitable holiday for the greeting card giant, Hallmark Cards. In the 1920’s Hallmark Cards realized the profitability of printing cards for Mother’s Day. Anna Jarvis worked hard to fight the commercialization of Mother’s Day, staging protests and filing lawsuits in an attempt to reform the holiday. In the end greeting card companies and retail stores won and Mother’s Day became a national commercial phenomenon, with millions of cards, flowers, and other gifts being exchanged.
Politics of Mother’s Day
The United States Congress thought that Mother’s Day was a joke.
In 1908, Congress was asked to officially claim Mother’s Day a national holiday. They refused, their argument being that if they made Mother’s Day official that they would also have to designate a day for “Mother-In-Law Day”. President Woodrow Wilson declared the second Sunday in May as the official day to celebrate Mother’s Day in 1914.
While Americans were not the first or the only country to celebrate a day designed to show appreciation to mothers, ours is widely accepted, with the average American spending $163.95 on dinner, gifts and cards. Mother’s Day is a great money-maker for restaurants, it being the most popular day for eating out all year.
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