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History Of Mother's Day & Founder Anna Marie Jarvis

9:04 AM, May 13, 2012   |    comments
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The majority of Americans spent the weekend celebrating their mother near, far and in thoughts.

Few of us probably haven't taken the time to know the day's history or honor the Mother of Mother's Day...Anna Jarvis.

Who started Mother's Day? According to biography.com, Anna Jarvis organized observances in Grafton, W.Va., and Philadelphia on May 10, 1908. As the annual celebration became popular around the country, Jarvis asked members of Congress to set aside a day to honor mothers. She finally succeeded in 1914, when Congress designated the second Sunday in May as "Mother's Day." 

In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson established Mother's Day, after years of lobbying by Jarvis who by then was considered the mother of the holiday.

Anna Jarvis' mother, Ann Jarvis, had attempted to establish a version of Mother's Day during the Civil War as a time for remembrance. After the holiday failed to catch on, Anna recalled hearing her mother pray for a memorial day for mothers. When her mother died in May, 1905. Two years later, Jarvis held a memorial for her mother and her good deeds. The next year, she again held a service, and gave away carnations, her mother's favorite flower, to all that attended. Red and pink carnations were to be worn for living mothers, and white for those who had passed away. Jarvis wanted all to attend church and afterward, for children to spend time writing a note of appreciation to their mothers.

She formed a committee and in 1910, West Virginia became the first state to adopt the the holiday. Soon, Jarvis began to raise awareness and support, and in 1914, President Wilson declared the second Sunday in May "Mother's Day."

In the early 1920s, florists began heavily marketing carnations and greeting card companies began to sell Mother's Day cards. Jarvis hated this, as her intention was for children to write hand-written, personal notes.

Though she spent almost a decade trying to establish the holiday, she eventually turned against its commercialization and was arrested for protesting at a Mother's Day carnation sale. Jarvis spent the rest of her life trying to end Mother's Day.

Though it's a profitable day for retailers, phone companies, and florists, the spirit of Mother's Day is still what Jarvis intended. This Sunday, children all over the country will take the time to appreciate and thank their mothers.

How many moms are there? The US Census reports there are 85.4 million mothers.

In 2012, the average person will spend $152.00 on Mother's Day and a total of $18 Billion nationwide, according to USA Today.

Related: What Americans Spend On Mother's Day

Biography.com

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