Mother’s Day – Why Its Creator Disowned The Holiday

All around the globe, the 2nd weekend of May sees a hike in the sale of flowers, cakes, cards, and whatnot. Mother’s Day, the 2nd Sunday of May, is celebrated all over the world as a tribute to mothers and everything that they do for their families.

Most often, the day is celebrated by children presenting their mothers with gifts such as flowers and cards. However, it is also used as an opportunity by companies to somehow tie in their products with the concept of a motherly bond.

People all over the globe have criticized the commercialization of the day. The day that was supposed to be an ode to mothers and their lives becomes a day for companies to hike their product sales.

However, this isn’t the first time that this commercialization is being criticized.

The first person to criticize the commercialization of the day was the creator of the day itself.

Mother's Day - Why Its Creator Disowned The Holiday


Even though many people are credited with the idea of Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis is responsible for the creation of the Mother’s Day we celebrate today.

Her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis died in 1095, and Anna created the day to honor mothers all over the world.

She celebrated the first Mother’s Day in 1908 on the 2nd Sunday of May. To most people, this date seems insignificant. However, Anna had a personal reason for choosing the 2nd Sunday of the month for this day. It was the closest day to the date her mother died, 9th May. She gave out hundreds of white carnations to the mothers who attended the event. White carnations were her mother’s favorite flower.

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In 1910, West Virginia declared Mother’s Day to be a state holiday.

Anna started a massive letter-writing campaign to newspapers and prominent politicians urging the adoption of a special day honoring motherhood. Her efforts paid off when President Woodrow Wilson declared the day a national holiday in 1914.

Mother's Day - Why Its Creator Disowned The Holiday


Anna’s vision of the day included visiting one’s mother, going to church, and wearing a white carnation as a badge. However, her celebration of quickly overtaken by capitalism.

Confectioners, florists, all card companies all tried to associate the idea of Mother’s Day to ramp up their profits. She sought support from the floral industry to popularise the day in the beginning. However, she proceeded to publicly urge people to stop buying Mother’s Day flowers, cards, and candies.

She spent the last decade of her life spending her personal wealth in fighting lawsuits against groups that used the term “Mother’s Day.” Before her demise in 1948, she had not only disowned the day, but she had also actively lobbied the government to get it removed from the American calendar.


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