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The History behind Mothers Day

Written by on April 6, 2022

Mothers Day is celebrated globally but do you really know the story behind its origins? No well let me tell you that story.

Unlike holidays with a set date, Mother’s Day has more to do with a specific day of the week than a specific date. It always falls on the second Sunday in May each year.

Ann Reeves Jarvis, known as Mother Jarvis, was a mother and Sunday school teacher in rural West Virginia—until the Civil War broke out in 1861. She became an activist for human rights and mothers, no matter which side of the blue-gray divide they were on. To begin, she organized “mothers’ day work clubs.” These clubs taught mothers basic health, hygiene, and child-rearing skills to fight the unsanitary living conditions that caused so much death and disease in young children.

She went on to organize “women’s brigades” to help wounded soldiers and a Mothers’ Friendship Day to improve relations between former Union and Confederate families.

Mother Jarvis’s daughter, Anna M. Jarvis, was her devoted disciple and served beside her mother. As Mother Jarvis’s health declined, Anna became her caretaker, devoting years to her beloved mom. On May 8, 1905, Mother Jarvis died of heart complications.

So on the 1year anniversary of her mothers death Anna invited people over for a special church service in remembrance of her mother and handed out her favorite flowers which were carnations. It was such a moving tribute, she and her loved ones decided to keep the tradition going each May. They broadened the celebration to include mothers in general.

Jarvis went on a campaign to spread her favorite holiday, writing letters, petitioning politicians, and talking about her mother to anyone who would listen. In 1915, her efforts paid off. President Woodrow Wilson declared Mother’s Day an annual national observance in the United States to be held on the second Sunday of May.

And that ladies and gentlemen is how Mothers Day was born into history.

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