How The Mother's Day Started by Cherry Lauren Diwaten
Blog post by Cherry Lauren Diwaten
May 2010, Photo: Sculpture from Seb Chua
The second Sunday in May has been set aside in honor of motherhood. Many churches have special services in which they honor Mothers of the congregation. They usually present the oldest Mom, youngest Mom, and Mom with the most children a corsage.
There is a custom of wearing a carnation on Mother's Day. A colored carnation means that the person's Mother is living. A white carnation indicates that a person's mom is dead.
Years ago, England observed what they called Mothering Sunday. It came in Mid-Lent.
The first suggestion for a day set aside to honor Mothers was made by Julia Ward Howe. She suggested that it be observed on June 2, as a day dedicated to peace.
Julia was born in 1819 in New York to a prominent family. She was an American writer, lecturer, and reformer. She was known as one of the most famous women of her time. She wrote "The Battle Hymn of the Republic", which was inspired when she visited military camps in Washington, D.C., during the Civil War in 1861. It became the major war song of the Union forces.
Julia became interested in the women's movement. She became the first president of the New England Woman Sufferage Association.
Three years after Frank Hering of Indiana launched his campagin for observance of Mother's Day in 1904, Anna Jarvis began a campaign to a nationwide obervance of Mother's Day. She chose the second Sunday in May. She also began the custom of wearing the carnation.
Jarvis' own Mother was honored on the first service at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton,West Virginia, on May 10, 1908. Later, at the general assembly in 1912, a delegate from Andrews Church introduced a resolution recognizing Jarvis as the founder of Mother's Day, and suggested that Mother's Day be observed on the second Sunday in May.
President Woodrow Wilson signed a joint resolution in Congress on May 9, 1914, recommending that the federal government observe Mother's day. The next year, the president was authorized to proclaim an annual holiday.