Did you know that more phone calls are made on Mother’s Day than on any other day? Phone traffic spikes by as much as 37% on Mother’s Day!
This holiday has certainly come a long way from its humble beginnings in West Virginia. In the years leading up to the Civil War, a woman from West Virginia named Anna Jarvis helped to start “Mother’s Day Work Clubs” as a way to teach local women how to properly care for their children. After the war, the work clubs helped to reconcile families on both sides of the war in an event held in 1868 called “Mothers’ Friendship Day.”
In 1905, Jarvis’ mother died. Jarvis admired her mother, a strong woman who had helped nurse wounded soldiers during the Civil War. Jarvis wanted a way to honor the sacrifices that mothers make for their children. Thus, the idea for Mother’s Day was born.
Jarvis got the financial backing of a Philadelphia department store owner, John Wanamaker, and in May 1908, she held the first Mother’s Day celebration at a Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia. Wanamaker also held a Mother’s Day event at one of his retail stores in Philadelphia. Thousands of people attended.
After the success of the first Mother’s Day, Jarvis worked to get the holiday added to the national calendar. She launched a large letter-writing campaign, urging newspapers and prominent politicians to adopt the special day of honoring motherhood. Four years later, many states, towns, and churches had adopted the holiday. In 1914, President Wilson officially established the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
Unfortunately for Jarvis, the holiday morphed into a celebration far removed from the personal celebration between mothers and families that she had envisioned. By 1920, Jarvis was disgusted with the commercialization of the day for mothers. She first urged people to stop buying flowers, cards, and candies, and then launched an all-out campaign against confectioners and florists, lobbying the government to remove Mother’s Day from the calendar. By the time of her death in 1948, Jarvis had disowned Mother’s Day.
Though the holiday has turned into an event far different from the small gatherings Jarvis had originally lobbied for, the essence of Mother’s Day has remained intact. Despite modern-day commercialization, we use Mother’s Day to reconnect with our moms, telling them how much they mean to us. There’s a reason why phone traffic spikes on Mother’s Day, and it’s because there’s a lot of kids here in America who are very thankful for their mothers. This year, take the time to thank Mom for everything she’s done for you. Honor Mom today – that’s what the holiday is all about. From all of us here at JB’s on 41 – we love you, Mom!
*Information courtesy of http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/mother-day