Mothers Day is a holiday honoring motherhood that is observed throughout the world. The American origin of Mothers Day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908. It became an official U.S. holiday in 1914.
While dates and celebrations vary, Mother’s Day most commonly falls on the second Sunday in May. It traditionally involves presenting mothers with flowers, cards and other gifts.
It was Anna Jarvis who also began the custom of wearing a carnation on Mother’s Day. A colored carnation if your mother is living and white if she’s not. This was intended to be a simple, inexpensive symbol of love and respect for mothers. After all, she loved you before you even knew how to spell the word.
Unfortunately, the story of Anna Jarvis has a bittersweet ending. At first, people observed Mother’s Day by attending church, writing letters to their mothers, and spending time together.
As the years passed though, more people began buying cards, presents, and flowers. Anna felt that Mother’s Day became much too commercialized. She was outraged when the price of carnations rose significantly. She attacked florists as “profiteers.” She filed a lawsuit to stop a 1923 Mother’s Day festival. She was even arrested for disturbing the peace at a war mothers’ convention where women were selling carnations to raise money. Said Anna: “This is not what I intended. I wanted a day of sentiment, not profit.”