History of Mother’s Day
Mother’s Day was declared a national holiday on May 9, 1914, by President Woodrow Wilson. However, it was actually seven years earlier that Anna Jarvis started putting the wheels in motion. Ms. Jarvis persuaded her Mother’s church in Grafton, West Virginia, to celebrate a special day for mothers on the anniversary of her own Mother’s death(which was the second Sunday in May). Support for Anna’s sentiments blossomed and she was able to persuade ministers, businessmen and politicians across the country to honor all mothers on this specific day.
Anna’s efforts reached all the way to the White House, where President Wilson declared:
“Now, Therefore, I, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the said Joint Resolution, do hereby direct the government officials to display the United States flag on all government buildings and do invite the people of the United States to display the flag at their homes or other suitable places on the second Sunday in May as a public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.”
Anna Jarvis didn’t stop there. She also started the custom of wearing white carnations on Mother’s Day as a symbol of a Mother’s sweetness, beauty, purity and the endurance of her love. Later on, red carnations became the accepted symbol of a living mother, while white carnations followed Ms. Jarvis’ example of honoring a mother who had passed away.
Today we not only honor our mothers, but our grandmothers, sisters, mother-in-laws, step-moms and even those women outside the family who have been like a mother to us. Friends, co-workers, teachers and neighbors are now on the receiving end of Mother’s Day wishes as well.
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Mother’s Day Fun Facts:
- In most of the world’s languages, the word for “mother” begins with the letter ‘M’
- Mother’s Day is not celebrated on the same day in every country. In the UK, it is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent and referred to as “Mothering Sunday”
- In the 1700s, a Russian woman by the name of Valentina Vassilyeva set the record for most children from a single woman. Her record is 69 children from 27 different pregnancies.
- Mother’s Day is the third most popular holiday in the world, second to Christmas and Easter