Mother’s Day as we know it, is a modern creation, in an interesting twist of events the person most responsible for it’s creation, eventually ended up protesting it and tried to have it abolished. Anna Jarvis, who most historians credit with being the creator of Mother’s Day, ended up hating the holiday she was instrumental in creating. She felt the holiday had become too commercial and spent the last 25 years of her life protesting against it. She was arrested numerous times for disturbing the peace, and in 1923 she was arrested for crashing a candy makers convention in Philadelphia. In 1948, shortly before her death she gave an interview where she stated that she ” wished she would have never started the day because it had became so out of control …”
Honoring Mothers and “Mother Earth” has been part of human civilization for thousands of years. The original Mother’s Day Celebrations, played a big role for both the Ancient Greeks and Romans. The Modern Mother’s Day holiday, is a day to celebrate and honor mothers and motherhood, not mythological goddesses. While Mother’s day celebrations take place throughout the year, most modern western world countries celebrate the holiday in May, March or April.
The first idea for a formal Mother’s Day holiday was came from Julia Ward Howe, a popular figure the 1870’s and the author of the Battle Hymn of the Old Republic. She used her fame to promote a holiday honoring Mothers. In the years after the Civil War, she worked to bring the holiday to wider audience, however it had heavy anti-war and pacifist undertones, and never quite caught on with the public, despite several public observances and meetings.
The person who is given the most credit for creating Mother’s Day, is Anna Jarvis from Grafton, West Virginia. After the Civil War Anna Jarvis mother wrote a poem known as the Mothers Day Proclamation. She used this poem to promote the idea of reconciliation after the civil war. Her mother died in 1905, and Anna Jarvis dedicated herself to promoting the idea of Mother’s Day, something she would later come to regret. In 1907 she held the first large scale celebration in West Virginia. While not hugely successful she continued to promote the holiday every year. John Wanamaker, who owned Wanamaker’s Department Store had recently lost his mother, and loved the idea of a holiday honoring mothers, and helped promote it in both his church and department store in Philadelphia in 1908. The following year it was expanded to his store in New York City. In 1910 West Virginia became the first state to recognize it as holiday, and in 1914 Woodrow Wilson finally made it an official national holiday.
Nine years after the first official Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis started to opposed the holiday she had help to create. The practice of purchasing greeting cards was seen as a sign of being too lazy to write a personal letter. She spent the rest of her life, and all of her inheritance fighting against the holiday. Over the next 25 years she was arrested multiple times for disturbing the peace, while she was protesting against the holiday. She finally stated that she ” wished she would have never started the day because it had became so out of control …”. Shortly after giving this interview Anna Jarvis passed away.
The holiday is considered a “Hallmark Holiday”, when it eventually became overwhelmingly commercialized by retail stores. Mother’s Day remains one of the most commercialized holidays, several facts about Mother’s Day spending for 2015
- Consumers in the United States are estimated to spend 19.9 billion dollars on Mother’s Day
- It is estimated Americans will spend between 2 and 2.6 billion on Mother’s Day Flowers
- An estimated 1.5 million will be spent on pampering gifts like Spa Treatments
- An estimated 68 million dollars will be spent on Mother’s Day Greeting Cards
- Over 120 Million telephone calls are estimated to be made on Mother’s Day
- The average person spends $163 on a Mother’s Day gift
- 43 percent of Americans will give gift cards, estimated to be worth 2 billion dollars
- In most other countries that adopted the holiday, Mother’s Day was given different meanings, celebrated on different dates, and associated to different events ( whether it be religious, legendary, or historical). Some countries already had there own version of Mother’s Day; but after the US holiday became more popular, other countries adopted several characteristics such as giving gifts and other presents to there own mothers.
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