In the United States the holiday is the second Sunday of May. Although many old traditions, such as Greek cults or Roman festivals of different Goddesses, were connected with motherhood, the modern Mother’s Day has its roots in the USA. The idea started to spread because of the American Civil War. In that time, it was quite common for mothers of those who fought or died in this war to gather together. This is why in 1868 a “Mother’s Friendship Day” was established by Ann Jarvis, who died before she managed to make it an annual holiday. Ann’s efforts were however continued by her daughter – Anna Maria Jarvis. She is the one considered to be the founder of the Mother’s Day. Three years after her mother’s death Anna conducted a ceremony to commemorate not only her, but all mothers. After one year the day was already widely celebrated in New York, but Jarvis was running a campaign aiming at establishing a national, and later international holiday for mothers. Another important figure striving for proclaiming Mother’s Day was a Boston poet – Julia Ward Howe, who patronized the observance of Mother’s Day for Peace for 10 years.
At first, the state of West Virginia proclaimed Mother’s Day in 1910, and other states progressively followed this idea. Finally, in 1914 Mother’s Day was officially proclaimed a national holiday and since then is celebrated on the second Sunday of May in the United States.
The second Sunday of May became for Americans an occasion to show the flag in honor of all mothers who lost their sons in war. Nowadays, the holiday is also strongly connected with sending cards. Other common traditions on that day are: going to church, family meals, and of course handing carnations.
Did you know?
Anna Jarvis passed out 500 white carnations – her mother’s favorite flowers – to all of those attending the first service of honoring mothers. In 1913 all federal government officials were asked by the U.S. House of Representatives to wear a white carnation one day in May in order to respect Mother’s Day. The flower became a symbol of motherhood.
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