With Mother’s Day just around the corner, it’s only natural to wonder where this widely popular and celebrated holiday originated and evolved.
The origin of the famous holiday goes back to the era of ancient Greek and Romans, although roots of Mother’s Day can also be traced back to the UK, where a celebration called ‘Mothering Sunday’ was held much before the day in honor of mothers were celebrated elsewhere in the world including the US.
However, the celebration of the Mother’s day as we see it today is thanks to two great woman named Julia Ward Howe and Anna Jervis.
Julia Ward Howe
Julia Ward Howe was an activist, writer and poet was the first to suggest the idea of an official celebration of the Mother’s Day. In her famous Mothers Day Proclamation, written in Boston in 1870 she wrote a passionate appeal to women and urged them to rise against war. Suggesting a day of honour for Mothers on June, she also initiated a Mothers’ Peace Day observance on the second Sunday in June. Her idea, backed by her relentless campaigns and calls for the official day later spread and replaced Mothers’ Peace Day.
Anna Jarvis, who is often referred to as the ‘Mother of Mothers Day’ is considered to be the founder of the celebration in the US. The activist was inspired by her own mother Anna Marie Reeves Jarvis, who wanted to see the existence of Mother’s Day.
After much lobbying, campaigns and awareness programs, her hard work paid off. By 1911, almost all the states in the United States celebrated Mother’s day. On 8 May 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a Joint Resolution designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
Mother’s Day has endured. It serves now, as it originally did, to recognize the contributions of women. Mother’s Day, like the job of “mothering,” is varied and diverse. Perhaps that’s only appropriate for a day honoring the multiple ways women find to nurture their families, and the ways in which so many have nurtured their communities, their countries and the larger world.
Check out these websites for more history on Mother’s Day!
Mother’s Day: History & Origin
National Women’s History Project