It’s Mother’s Day Not Mothers Day.
It was in the eyes of Anna M. Reeves Jarvis a day that you would take time from your busy schedule to call, go home, perhaps do something together. Spend time with your mom, show her how much you love her and to thank mom for her unconditional love.
It wasn’t to celebrate ALL mothers, just YOUR mother. Anna Jarvis stressed the singular “Mother’s Day” rather than the plural form “Mothers Day”.
It was Anne Reeves Jarvis (Anna’s mother) a school teacher and wife of a prominent Methodist minister who started a different concept of Mother’s Day. Anne was a women’s event organizer in Grafton, West Virginia. She was concerned about mother’s and their children. She wanted to help improve sanitary conditions and lower infant mortality by fighting disease and curbing milk contamination. She started “Mother’s Day Work Clubs” to teach moms and mom’s to be how to care for their children and keep them healthy.
Anne’s groups also tended to wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War from 1861-1865.
Some historians say for awhile, Mothers Day was a day for mothers to mourn the lost of their sons during the Civil War.
Anne also held ‘Mother’s Day Picnics’ to bring embattled soldiers together in peace.
Anna Jarvis created what we identify today as Mother’s Day. Anna never had children of her own. She wanted to celebrate her mother Anne who died in 1905. Anna organized events that same year on May 10th in both her hometown church known today as the International Mother’s Day Shrine and in Philadelphia where she lived at the time. Anna organized several other celebrations in other American cities until it grew to the point that in 1914 then U.S President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May to be forever observed as “Mother’s Day”.
Anna’s ‘Mother’s Day’ dream would quickly become a nightmare, something that deeply disturbed Anne Jarvis was that it became a commercial goldmine centering on buying flowers, candies and greeting cards. Anna armed with a sizable inheritance dedicated herself to fighting this corporate greed. She established herself as the Mother’s Day International Association and organized boycotts, threatened lawsuits and even crashed conventions. Anna died in 1948 at 84 years old in Philadelphia with a form of dementia, blind and penniless.
Her last public sentiments were, “She was sorry she ever started Mothers Day”.
At the time of Anna’s death 40 countries observed Mother’s Day. Today that number now exceeds 70. Canada, one of the first countries in 1909 to observe Mother’s Day added emphases on doing chores and cooking for mom.
Many countries around the world also observe something called ‘Mothering Sunday’. It is a mid-Lent holiday that honors the Mother Church, the home church where they were baptized. The church extended this observation to honor ALL mothers which was first observed during the 1700’s by taking a break from fasting and penitence of Lent by having a family feast.