How did the Celebration of Mother's Day Begin?

Contrary to popular belief, Saturday Night Live, Justin Timberlake and The Lonely Island did not start Mother's Day (link may not be safe for work, but it's funny.)

(Sorry JT fans.  JT did a lot of wonderful things, but not create Mother's Day.)

This Sunday, we get 24 hours dedicated to celebrating that special lady in all of our lives - our Moms!  The Eiffel Towel team is very close to their moms and we all thank them for all the times they made us eat our vegetables, or get us to bed on time, or keep us from sitting too close to the television. But how did this special day in May come to be?

During the Civil War, a peace activist name Ann Reeves Jarvis had been working with wounded soldiers to address public health issues.  After she died, her daughter, Anna, wanted to continue her mother's work. Additionally she campaigned to set aside one day to honor all mothers because she believed that a mother is "the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world."

She stared her efforts in 1905, and was rejected by the U.S. Congress in 1908. It wasn't until 1911 that all U.S. states observed Mother's Day.  In 1914, the U.S. President, Woodrow Wilson, designated the second Sunday in May as a national holiday to honor mothers. 

For our traveling friend, keep in mind that other countries celebrate Mother's Day during different parts of year.  Some countries in Eastern Europe coincide Mother's Day with International Women's Day and other countries such as South Korea have a single day to honor both mom and dad:  Parents' Day.  So if you're traveling around the world with your mom, you may want to ask around to see when they celebrate it.  However you have our permission to honor your mom every day of the year.

This weekend, we encourage everybody to visit (or call) mom, take her out to brunch or get her something nice.  We wrote up a gift guide for Mother's Day on a budget.  Happy Mother's Day to you and your moms!

 

Sources

Panati's Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things

Encyclopedia of Motherhood, Volume 1