Happy Mother's Day

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Mother's Day

The modern American holiday of Mother's Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother in Grafton, West Virginia. Her campaign to make "Mother's Day" a recognized holiday in the United States began in 1905, the year her beloved mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died. Anna’s mission was to honor her own mother by continuing work she started and to set aside a day to honor mothers, "the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world". Anna's mother, Ann Jarvis, was a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the Civil War and created Mother’s Day Work Clubs to address public health issues.

Due to the campaign efforts of Anna Jarvis, several states officially recognized Mother's Day, the first in 1910 being West Virginia, Jarvis’ home state. In 1914 Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation creating Mother’s Day, the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers.

Although Jarvis was successful in founding Mother's Day she soon became resentful of the commercialization and was angry that companies would profit from the holiday. By the early 1920s, Hallmark and other companies started selling Mother's Day cards. Jarvis became so embittered by what she saw as misinterpretation and exploitation that she protested and even tried to rescind Mother's Day. The holiday that she worked so hard for was supposed to be about sentiment, not about profit.

Jarvis's intention for the holiday had been for people to appreciate and honor mothers by writing a personal letter, by hand, expressing love and gratitude, rather than buying gifts and pre-made cards. Jarvis organized boycotts and threatened lawsuits to try to stop the commercialization. She crashed a candymakers' convention in Philadelphia in 1923. Two years later she protested at a confab of the American War Mothers, which raised money by selling carnations, the flower associated with Mother’s Day, and was arrested for disturbing the peace.

Nine years after the first official United States Mother's Day, commercialization of the holiday became so rampant that Anna Jarvis herself became a major opponent of what the holiday had become and spent all her inheritance and the rest of her life fighting what she saw as an abuse of the celebration.

Later commercialization and other exploitations of Mother's Day infuriated Jarvis and she made her criticisms explicitly known the rest of her life. She criticized the practice of purchasing greeting cards, which she saw as a sign of being too lazy to write a personal letter. She was arrested in 1948 for disturbing the peace while protesting against the commercialization of Mother's Day, and she finally said that she regretted having started it.

Mother's Day continues to be one of the most commercially successful U.S. occasions. It is possible that the holiday would have withered over time without the support and continuous promotion of the florist industries and other commercial industries.

Jarvis's holiday was adopted by other countries and it is now celebrated all over the world.

“A Mother holds her children’s hands for a while, and their hearts forever” Anonymous Author

Mother’s Day Statistics (Research Date: March 17th, 2015)

Mothers Day Statistics

Total number of moms in the U.S.

85.4 million

Total amount of money spent on Mother’s Day Cards annually

$671 million

Total amount of money that will be spent for mothers on Mothers Day

$20.7 billion

Total amount of money spent on flowers for their mothers on mother’s day

$1.9 billion

The average amount American consumers will spend on mom for Mother’s Day

$168.94