Mother’s Day is one of the most popular holidays, celebrated not only in America but also around the world—a day to lift up Mom and show her our appreciation. But the story behind its creation, and of its modern-day founder, has a surprisingly ironic twist.
It was first thought of as “Mothering Sunday” in the United Kingdom, always falling on the fourth Sunday in Lent. It was a time when faithful churchgoers returned to their “mother church” for a special service.
Over time, the holiday became secularized, as children would present to their mother flowers and other tokens of appreciation.
The American version can be contributed to a woman named Ann Reeves Jarvis. In 1868, she helped start “Mother’s Day Work Clubs” to teach local woman how to properly care for their children, later becoming known as “Mother’s Friendship Day.”
The official Mother’s Day holiday arose in the 1900s, thanks to Anna Jarvis, daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis.
In 1905, Ann Reeves Jarvis passed away, so her daughter, Anna Jarvis, determined to conceive a day called “Mother’s Day” to honor the sacrifices mothers made for their children.
Anna Jarvis worked tirelessly to lobby groups and individuals for support. She eventually gained financial backing from a Philadelphia store owner, John Wanamaker. In 1908, she organized the first official Mother’s Day celebration at a Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia.
On the same day, thousands attended a Mother’s Day event at Wanamaker’s retail stores in Philadelphia.
The event was hugely successful, and eventually Anna Jarvis convinced Woodrow Wilson, in 1914, to designate the second Sunday in May as a day to celebrate the contributions of mothers. But as the holiday grew in popularity, Jarvis had a peculiar, and ironic, reaction to it…STORY CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE