Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother's Day! Mother's Day is observed in the US on the 2nd Sunday in May Art by Sugar

Happy Mother’s Day!
Mother’s Day is observed in the US on the 2nd Sunday in May
Art by Sugar

Mother’s Day (United States)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mother’s Day in the United States is an annual holiday celebrated on the second Sunday in May. Mother’s Day recognizes mothers, motherhood and maternal bonds in general, as well the positive contributions that they make to society. Although many Mother’s Day celebrations world-wide have quite different origins and traditions, most have now been influenced by the more recent American tradition established by Anna Jarvis, who celebrated it for the first time in 1907, then campaigned to make it an official holiday. Previous attempts at establishing Mother’s Day in the United States sought to promote peace by means of honoring mothers who had lost or were at risk of losing their sons to war.

Traditions on this day include churchgoing, the distribution of carnations, and family dinners.

History
First attempts to establish a holiday

The first attempts to establish a “Mother’s Day” in the United States came from women’s peace groups. A common early activity was the meeting of groups of mothers whose sons had fought or died on opposite sides of the American Civil War.

In 1868, Ann Jarvis – mother of Anna Jarvis – created a committee to establish a “Mother’s Friendship Day”, the purpose of which was “to reunite families that had been divided during the Civil War.” Jarvis – who had previously organized “Mother’s Day Work Clubs” to improve sanitation and health for both Union and Confederate encampments undergoing a typhoid outbreak – wanted to expand this into an annual memorial for mothers, but she died in 1905 before the celebration became popular. Her daughter would continue her mother’s efforts.

There were several limited observances in the 1870s and the 1880s but none achieved resonance beyond the local level. At the time, Protestant schools in the United States already held many celebrations and observations such as Children’s Day, Temperance Sunday, Roll Call Day, Decision Day, Missionary Day and others. In New York City, Julia Ward Howe led a “Mother’s Day for Peace” anti-war observance on June 2, 1872, which was accompanied by a Mother’s Day Proclamation. The observance continued in Boston for about 10 years under Howe’s personal sponsorship, then died out.

Several years later a Mother’s Day observance on May 13, 1877 was held in Albion, Michigan over a dispute related to the temperance movement.[9] According to local legend, Albion pioneer Juliet Calhoun Blakeley stepped up to complete the sermon of the Rev. Myron Daughterty who was distraught because an anti-temperance group had forced his son and two other temperance advocates to spend the night in a saloon and become publicly drunk. From the pulpit Blakeley called on other mothers to join her. Blakeley’s two sons, both traveling salesmen, were so moved that they vowed to return each year to pay tribute to her and embarked on a campaign to urge their business contacts to do likewise. At their urging, in the early 1880s, the Methodist Episcopal Church in Albion set aside the second Sunday in May to recognize the special contributions of mothers.

Frank E. Hering, President of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, made a plea for “a national day to honor our mothers” in 1904.

Anna Jarvis never mentioned Howe or Mothering Sunday, and she never mentioned any connection to the Protestant school celebrations, always claiming that the creation of Mother’s Day was hers alone.
Holiday establishment
Mother’s Day postcard from Northern Pacific Railway in 1915

In its present form, Mother’s Day was established by Anna Jarvis with the help of Philadelphia merchant John Wanamaker following the death of her mother Ann Jarvis on May 9, 1905. A small service was held on May 12, 1907 in the Andrew’s Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia where Anna’s mother had been teaching Sunday school.[3] But the first “official” service was on May 10, 1908 in the same church, accompanied by a larger ceremony in the Wanamaker Auditorium in the Wanamaker’s store on Philadelphia. The next year the day was reported to be widely celebrated in New York.

Jarvis then campaigned to establish Mother’s Day first as a U.S. national holiday and then later as an international holiday. The holiday was declared officially by the state of West Virginia in 1910, and the rest of states followed quickly. On May 8, 1914, the U.S. Congress passed a law designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day and requesting a proclamation. On May 9, 1914 President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation declaring the first national Mother’s Day as a day for American citizens to show the flag in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war.

In 1934, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved a stamp commemorating the holiday.

In May 2008 the U.S. House of Representatives voted twice on a resolution commemorating Mother’s Day, the first one being unanimous (with 21 members not voting). The Grafton’s church, where the first celebration was held, is now the International Mother’s Day Shrine and is a National Historic Landmark.

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