Although one of the most popular consumer days of the year, Mothers’ Day was not conceived in a greeting card company boardroom. In fact, we can trace the celebration of mothers all the way back to the ancient Greeks and Romans; they dedicated their spring festivals to goddesses of motherhood. In the United States, Mother’s Day started nearly 150 years ago, when Ann Reeves Jarvis, an Appalachian homemaker, established a day to bring awareness regarding poor health conditions in her community. Rallying mothers and calling it “Mother’s Work Day,” Ms. Jarvis believed that mothers were the best to advocate for the health of the children. She also began “Mothers’ Friendship Day” after the Civil War ended; this bittersweet initiative united mothers of fallen Confederate and Union soldiers, to promote reconciliation.
Folklore tells us that the younger Jarvis had once heard her mother say ” I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mother’s day. There are many days for men, but none for mothers.” In 1905 when Anne Jarvis died, her daughter Anna was motivated to find a way to commemorate the impact her mother had. Anna worked with prominent businessmen and politicians to get the day on the national calendar, and in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill into law.
According to Anna, Mother’s Day was observed by attending church and writing letters of appreciation to mothers. As the day evolved into a day for giving gifts, she was distraught, worried that the sentiment of the day had been overcome by consumerism. She spent her latter years protesting the very holiday she had championed. Still, her custom of handing out carnations to mothers is likely the basis of our sending s to our Mom on this special day. The carnation began as the official of the day, but roses, orchids, and calla lilies have become very popular as well.
To remember your mother with flowers this May 8, stop into Al’s Florist, see Mother’s day gift ideas at our blog, or browse our website and order online – because although history records a lot of mothers, only one of them is as special as yours.