There are plenty of days in the year, but only one has been set aside to honor that one person in each of our lives who did the most and had the greatest impact: the ladies who carried us and nurtured us; who encouraged us to succeed, and who wiped away our tears when we failed; the women who are lovingly called MOM! That day is Mother’s Day, and since it’s this Sunday, we wanted to do a special post about the lady who helped establish it as a nationally recognized holiday.
Anna Jarvis’ campaign to make Mother’s Day a recognized holiday in the United States began in 1905, the year her own beloved mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, passed away. Anna’s dream was to honor her mother: first, by continuing her mom’s work as a peace activist — Anna’s mom had cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War; and secondly, by creating “Mother’s Day Work Clubs” to address public health issues. Anna also had a goal to establish a national holiday paying tribute to mothers throughout the country.
The FIRST modern American celebration of Mother’s Day was in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial service for her mother in Grafton, West Virginia. Afterwards, due to Anna’s tireless campaigning, several states officially recognized Mother’s Day, West Virginia officially recognized the holiday in 1910. Several more states quickly followed. Ultimately, in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation making Mother’s Day — always to be on the second Sunday in May — a national holiday honoring mothers.
Anna had achieved her goal. Her dream to recognize and celebrate “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world” had become a reality.
Anna Jarvis hoped the holiday would become an ocassion for people to honor their own mothers and demonstrate their appreciation by writing personal letters expressing their love and gratitude. So she was actually saddened when Hallmark started marketing pre-made Mother’s Day cards in early 1920. She felt the commemorative holiday she’d worked so hard to establish, was being commercialized. Perhaps. But today it’s easier to be on Hallmark’s side: not everyone’s gifted with beautiful handwriting or the creativity to produce homemade gifts. Some of us want and need other ways to express our feelings; and besides, giving pretty cards has become as much a tradition as Mother’s Day itself.
Mother’s Day has since been adopted by other countries and is now celebrated all over the world. What a wonderful idea — because our moms are wonderful people!
“My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.” (George Washington)
“She is clothed with strength and dignity…. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. Her children stand and bless her.” (Proverbs 31:25-28 NLT)
(Happy Mother’s Day to our very own Mamita!)