Historic City News readers in the United States celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May; that would be today, May 8, 2011.
In the 1880s and 1890s there were several attempts to establish a Mother’s Day, but they didn’t succeed beyond the local level.
The holiday we celebrate today, was created by Anna Jarvis in Grafton, West Virginia, in 1908 as a day to honor one’s mother. Jarvis kept promoting the holiday until President Woodrow Wilson made it an official national holiday in 1914.
Jarvis wanted to accomplish her mother’s dream of making a celebration for all mothers, although the idea didn’t take off until she enlisted the services of wealthy Philadelphia merchant John Wanamaker.
The holiday eventually became so highly commercialized that many, including its founder, Anna Jarvis, considered it a “Hallmark Holiday”, i.e. one with an overwhelming commercial purpose.
Jarvis eventually ended up opposing the holiday she had helped to create. She died in 1948, regretting what had become of her holiday.
In the United States, Mother’s Day remains one of the biggest days for sales of flowers, greeting cards, and the like; it is also the biggest holiday for long-distance telephone calls.
We at Historic City News take this time to wish all our readers, and their mothers, a Happy Mother’s Day.