Why We Celebrate Mother’s Day - The History And Origin

Why We Celebrate Mother’s Day - The History And Origin

In this day and age, the core values of Mother’s Day have seemed to fade into obscurity. As this holiday merely becomes a race to purchase the most expensive gifts, hoping that their monetary value accurately reflects off feelings of love and appreciation, it is crucial that we take a step back to remember its original intention. While the concept and celebration of this day dates further back, Mother’s Day, as we know it, was conceived in 1872 by Julia Ward Howe in an attempt to dedicate an entire day to the unconditional love and efforts of mothers. However, it wasn’t until the efforts of Ann Jarvis of West Virgina that this day was classified as a national holiday.

Behind Jarvis’ yearning to establish a day that recognized the efforts of mothers lied her own mother’s key contributions towards uniting women for good causes. Ann Reeves Jarvis, also known as Mama Jarvis, cared deeply for wounded soldiers on both sides of the field during the highly turbulent Civil War. In its aftermath, she organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day” in order to foster reconciliation between former Union and Confederate soldiers, having them unite and come together in harmony, being sure to include the hardworking mothers from both sides. 

Reeves’ undying determination and focus towards caring for children and promoting peace kick started Ann’s very own cause. So much so, that around the same time, Ann began working with mothers in the same spirit of peace. After gaining financial backing from a Philadelphia department store owner named John Wanamaker, in May 1908, Ann triumphed to organize the very first Mother’s Day celebration in West Virginia. That same day, thousands of people were seen attending other Mother’s Day events all across Philadelphia, driving up the numbers of support towards Ann’s initiative.


Following the success of the first Mother’s Day event, Ann, bringing her massive letter writing campaign into fruition, argued to the top politicians of the era regarding how holidays were biased towards male achievements, urging the adoption of a special day honoring the challenges of motherhood. By 1912, Ann’s blood, sweat, and tears paid off as many states, towns, and churches agreed to adopt Mother’s Day as a national holiday. Followed by Ann later establishing the Mother’s Day International Association, her uphill battle lead to the immortalization of this day.

As we shed light on the history of this day, it is crucial that we acknowledge the efforts of mothers, daughters, sisters, and all the women who work tirelessly to support and nurture us.

Happy Mother’s Day.

  • In: Magazine