An early Christian festival called “Mothering Sunday” is often cited as the precursor to our current Mother’s Day holiday. Once a major tradition in parts of Europe, the day celebrated was the fourth Sunday of Lent and seen as a time when the faithful would return to the “mother” church for a special service. Over time, the holiday moved away from an attachment to the church, and became a day when children would present their mothers with flowers and other gifts of appreciation.
In the United States, the day is believed to have been reinvented by Anna Jarvis in memory of her own mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, a peace activist caring for wounded soldiers on both sides during the Civil War who later created Mother’s Day Work Clubs to address public health issues.
Anna began a campaign to make “Mother’s Day” a national holiday beginning in 1905, the year her mother died. In 1908, Congress rejected her proposal, but owing to Anna’s efforts, by 1910, her home state of West Virginia was recognizing Mother’s Day as a holiday. In 1914, Anna’s efforts were rewarded. Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating the second Sunday in May as a national holiday to honor mothers.
Anna believed that mothers were “the person who had done more for you than anyone in the world.” Today, Anna’s national holiday to appreciate and honor mothers is celebrated in countries throughout the world.
A heartfelt Happy Mother’s Day to mothers the world over!