Mother's Day


Photo: TK

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Though not a Federal holiday, Mother's Day is recognized in every U.S. state as a day to honor mothers and motherhood. It was inspired by mothers whose sons had died on opposite sides in the Civil War or whose families had been divided by the conflict. The national holiday was tirelessly championed by Anna Jarvis. She held the first observance at a church service in 1907. An official proclamation followed in 1914, signed by President Woodrow Wilson, to honor mothers who had lost their sons in battle. 

The battles of World War I began three years later, in 1917. By then, Jarvis herself was already campaigning against the commercialization and abuse of the holiday. She saw greeting cards as lazy alternatives to handwritten letters. The holiday became a new source of profit for florists. "And candy!" Jarvis wrote, "You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself."

Jarvis spent her inheritance trying to reform, and later rescind, the holiday she had founded. She died in 1948 in a sanitarium, with her bills paid by the greeting card and florist industries. Jarvis never married or had any children.

Today Mother's Day is America's most popular occasion for eating out in restaurants.  It is estimated that more than half of American families send greeting cards on Mother's Day.

Roscoe, IL 61073
United States

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