How Did Mother’s Day Start?

A good way to start a fight is to walk up to someone and insult their mother. If you try it, you’d better be prepared for a serious throwdown. It doesn’t matter if just moments ago that person was talking bad about their mom. They are going to come to their matriarch’s defense if you so much as even hint at a negative remark. You can say a lot of things about someone’s father and not get quite the same reaction. When the chips are down, people love their mothers. It is the whole idea of a person who not only gave birth to you but cared for and nurtured you through your childhood. When you stubbed your toe, who was it that gave you a kiss to make it better? Your mother. When the other kids wouldn’t play with you, who comforted you? Your mother. Maybe that is why Mother’s Day is such a big deal. Yet how did Mother’s Day get started? Did someone one day just decide “Hey, I think I’ll celebrate my mother today”? Although the marketing for holiday cards, flowers, and gifts has gotten out of hand, there is a history to the origins of this special day.

History of the Mother’s Day Holiday

It is one of the largest card-buying holidays in the U.S. But the origins of Mother’s Day have nothing to do with going out and buying expensive gifts, flowers, and cards. The roots of celebrating a mother figure can be traced back to the times of Ancient Greece. The Greeks held a festival to honor Rhea, the Mother of all the Greek Gods. The Romans and other early civilizations had similar celebrations for their own gods.

In the 17th century, there was a special day in England known as Mothering Sunday. It was celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent to honor one’s mother. It came about because many common women spent most of their time working in the households of England’s higher class. Any servant who was a mother could take the day off (how noble of those noble English) and spend it with their own mothers, most of whom needed taking care of. The honored mothers were given a celebratory fruit cake or pastry for the event.

Years later the celebrations of one’s mother changed to incorporate the church as a symbol of ‘motherhood’ because of its spiritual nurturing. This eventually switched back to the original idea of mothers as in people, not religious institutes.


The idea of Mother’s Day in the United States goes back to the Civil War. It was suggested by a woman named Julia Ward Howe during that time. Yes, she is the same one who penned the words to Battle Hymn of the Republic. Howe’s idea for Mother’s Day came about as an idea to promote peace after witnessing the bloodshed of the Civil War. In 1870, during the international peace conference held in London and Paris, she presented her manifesto. By 1872, Howe began promoting Mother’s Day for Peace which would be held on June 2. The idea of the special day was to celebrate peace, the ideals of being a woman, and motherhood. Her idea lasted for a few years, and was even celebrated, but eventually fell to the wayside as the Civil War grew further in the past.

It wasn’t until 1907 that a woman by the name of Ana Jarvis got the ball rolling of turning Mother’s Day into a national holiday. Ana Jarvis wanted to celebrate her own mother so she convinced her mother’s church in Grafton, West Virginia, to set aside a special day to honor all mother’s. It was called Mother’s Day and was set during the second Sunday in May, which was the anniversary of the death of Jarvis’ mother. The celebration was held and by the following year, Mother’s Day was also celebrated in Philadelphia where Ana Jarvis lived.  Mother’s Day was a popular idea and supporters of the holiday spoke with politicians and law-makers about making it a national holiday. By the time President Woodrow Wilson made Mother’s Day official in 1914, it was already being celebrated in every state.

How Do I know What To Buy My Mom For Mother’s Day?

This is the problem every devoted child must face every year. What makes it truly difficult is if you have one of those mother’s who always says “you don’t have to get me anything”. It is one of the best plays of reverse psychology ever and it compels us to scour every conceivable source for that perfect Mother’s Day gift. So how do you know what to get your mom for her big day?

First, think about what your mother likes. What are her interests and hobbies? You want to make sure that your gift will be something that she will find interesting and not something that will be lumped in the same category as junk email. She is your mother so you should know what she likes and doesn’t like.

Second, if you are really stumped, get her something practical. Does she need anything? Has she been complaining about the lack of anything in her home? If you have visited her house recently, think back and try to remember if there was anything that she might find useful that she doesn’t already have. Many times these things are overlooked but can make her life a lot easier.

Lastly, if she has everything, then just do what the commercials say and give her something that shows you care. Cards and flowers are always favorites and you can’t go wrong with them. Take your mother out to eat or out shopping. See if there is any chore around the house that you can do for her (or hire to have it done). Whatever you get your mother on Mother’s Day, it doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate. It just has to convey your feelings to her on how much you appreciate her being your mom.

For more information about how mother’s day started, visit: