The second Sunday in May is Mother’s Day and in 2014, the holiday falls on May 11th. Mother’s Day became an official national holiday in the United States in 1914, making Mother’s Day 2014 the 100th official observance. Learn some fun facts about Mother’s Day, its history and how we celebrate today, below.
* “Mothering Sunday” dates back to the 16th century is a considered a precursor to the modern Mother’s Day. It was observed on the fourth Sunday of Lent in Europe when people returned to their “mother church” and it evolved to include secular observances honoring mothers. This custom declined in popularity in the 1930’s.
* Anna Jarvis is considered the founder of Mother’s Day in the United States when she sought in 1908 to honor her mother, who had died three years prior and who had organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day” in 1868 to promote reconciliation following the end of the Civil War.
* President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation making Mother’s Day a national holiday in 1914, but senators on both sides of the aisle were not overly impressed by the idea at first. New Hampshire Senator Jacob Gallinger, a Republican, found the idea of limiting the celebration of his mother to just one day insulting. Senator Henry Moore Teller of Colorado, a Democrat, felt even more strongly, saying it was “absolutely absurd,” “puerile,” and “trifling.” Charming.
* Jarvis was not a life-long supporter of the holiday because she disliked the commercialization that surrounded it. Around 1920 she started urging people to stop buying flowers and cards for their mothers. Jarvis was even arrested protesting Mother’s Day and said that she regretted creating the holiday. She eventually tried to have Mother’s Day abolished.
* FTD (The Florist Telegraph Delivery) association offered Jarvis a commission on the sales of Mother’s Day carnations if she would resume her support of Mother’s Day, but she was not about to placated and was insulted by the offer.
* Mother’s Day is in fact that proper name of the holiday, not Mothers’ Day. Jarvis wanted it to be a holiday to honor each individual’s mother, your mother, not all mothers. Thus, the name is singular, not plural.
* It appears that FTD didn’t need Jarvis’ support, as people spend $1.9 billion annually on flowers for Mother’s Day and 69% of all gifts given are flowers. 13% of moms buy themselves flowers for the occasion.
* 133 million cards are exchanged annually, according to Hallmark, making it the third-largest card-sending holiday in the U.S.
* Phone calls increase up to 37% on Mother’s Day, showing that not everything about the holiday is commercial.
* There are approximately 2 billion mothers in the world, with 4 babies born each second.
Find more stats on Mother’s Day gifts here.
Happy Mother’s Day to one and all.