The history of Mother's Day is centuries old and goes back to the times of ancient Greeks, who held festivities to honor Rhea, the mother of the gods. The early Christians celebrated the Mother's festival on the fourth Sunday of Lent to honor Mary, the mother of Christ. Interestingly, later on a religious order stretched the holiday to include all mothers, and named it as the Mothering Sunday. The English colonists settled in America discontinued the tradition of Mothering Sunday because of lack of time. In 1872, Julia Ward Howe organized a day for mothers dedicated to peace. It is a milestone in the history of Mother's Day. In 1907, Anna M. Jarvis (1864-1948), a Philadelphia schoolteacher, began a movement to set up a national Mother's Day in honor of her mother, Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis. She solicited the help of hundreds of legislators and prominent businessmen to create a special day to honor mothers.
The first Mother's Day observance was a church service honoring Anna's mother. Anna handed out her mother's favorite flowers, the white incarnations, on the occasion as they represent sweetness, purity, and patience. Anna's hard work finally paid off in the year 1914, when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as a national holiday in honor of mothers. Slowly and gradually, the Mother's Day became very popular and gift-giving activity increased. All this commercialization of the Mother's day infuriated Anna, as she believed that the day's sentiment was being sacrificed at the expense of greed and profit. Regardless of Jarvis' worries, Mother's Day has flourished in the United States. Actually, the second Sunday of May has become the most popular day of the year. Although Anna may not be with us, but t Mother's Day lives on and has spread to various countries of the world. Many countries throughout the world celebrate Mother's Day at various times during the year, but some such as Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Australia, and Belgium also celebrate Mother's Day on the second Sunday of May.
The Mother's Day International Association came into being on December 12, 1912, to promote and encourage meaningful observances of the event. Starting from 1912, Mother's day began to be officially declared a holiday by some states. Anna's dream came true when in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson declared the first national Mother's Day, as a day for American citizens to show the flag in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war.
Mothering Sunday in the UK is the equivalent to Mother's Day in other countries. The early Christians in England celebrated the Mother's festival on the fourth Sunday of Lent (the 40 day period leading up to Easter) to honor Mary, the mother of Christ. Interestingly, later on a religious order stretched the holiday to include all mothers,
The name of Anna Jarvis is closely associated with the history and origin of the Mother's Day. In England, Mother's day is celebrated as Mothering Sunday.