The Surprising Truth Behind The Origins Of Mother's Day

28 Apr 2016

Every Mother's Day we give thanks to the beautiful and strong women in our lives, we shower them with gifts and loudly express our appreciation, but originally, this date wasn't so cheerful. Here, the shockingly gloomy history behind this special day.

Two Women

Activist, writer and poet Julia Ward Howe, who initiated the idea as a heartfelt appeal against war and as a promotion for peace, first thought of celebrating "Mother's Day" in 1872. Howe raised much awareness for the cause including her famous 1870 Mother's Day Proclamation in Boston, US. Ward's unwavering commitment to the cause saw her triumph for 'Mother's Peace Day' and an official celebration of 'Mother's Day' gain widespread attention, and although these proposals did not become official,     Ward is recognised for her significant contribution in the establishment of Mother's Day - which brings us to Anna Jarvis.

Anna Jarvis, the woman officially recognised as the 'Founder of Mothers Day in the United States', surprisingly was not a mother herself nor did she have kids, but was a loving and honoured daughter. Anna Jarvis was strongly inspired since childhood by her mother Mrs Anna Marie Reeve Jarvis, an activist and social worker, who was profoundly dedicated to one day praising all mothers, both living and no longer alive, for their life's commitment and benefactions to their children.

The Carnations

Mrs Jarvis sadly passed away in 1905 leaving her daughter Anna, now disturbed by a growing mentality of abandonment and near failure to appreciate mothers, impassioned more than ever to make her mother's vision a reality. In 1908, Anna sent 500 carnations to the first Mother Day's church service in West Virginia as tribute to her mother whom loved carnations; the divine flowers symbolic of pure love. Following this act and years of hard work including letters lobbying for its official declaration, Mother's Day was celebrated in nearly every state in the union by 1911. And on May 8, 1915, President Woodrom Wilson signed a Joint Resolution which declared that every year, the second Sunday in May would officially be Mother's Day.

A Tragic Ending

Anna Jarvis did not celebrate. As soon as it became official, her "intimate Mother's Day" transformed into a commercial jackpot with distributors fast making mass profits on cards, flowers and confectionary. Anna carried out protests, boycotts, made legal threats, attacked First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt for wielding Mother's Day to boost her fundraising efforts and in 1923 and 1925, "crashed" a commercial convention. If she had chosen to support Mother's Day for what it had become, Anna Jarvis would have been a very rich woman. But instead, she stood true to what she believed in and tragically, "gave everything to fight it, dying penniless and broken in a sanitarium".

Celebrating Mum

While Anna Jarvis did not approve its commercial appeal, it's definitely accurate to say that Jarvis' mission to officially celebrate, appreciate, honour and thank mothers for being just that - was well achieved. We may thank our mothers with gifts and flowers this Mother's Day, but just as Anna praised her mother her entire life, we too must remember how important it is to be grateful to the ladies we purely love - not only on this special day, but every other day too.

Happy Mother's Day! For finding the right gift for your Mum, Adelaide Central Plaza have just the variety. Keep it sentimental at Fireflies, sweet-smelling thanks to Candle Cottage, skin-loving at L'OccitaneThe Body Shop and Origani or bejewel your gem of a mother at Solid Gold Diamonds.


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