Mother’s Day History – How Flowers and Greeting Cards took over Anna Jarvis's holiday

CREDIT: M. Witmark & Sons.

(Best Syndication News) - Today is Mother’s Day and according to the US Census Bureau, there are over 85 million moms in the United States. In recent years, the average age for becoming a first time mother is 25 years old said the US Census Bureau.

Mother’s Day became a national event when Congress approved it in 1914. The idea started with Anna Jarvis from West Virginia back in 1908, who wanted to have a special day to honor mothers.

Anna Jarvis had campaigned for Mother’s Day to become a US holiday two years after her mother had died. In 1920, Jarvis complained that Mother’s Day had become commercialized. Jarvis had set up the Mother’s Day International Association and had tried to trademark “second Sunday in May” and “Mother’s Day.” She spent the rest of her life trying to change the holiday away from the commercial money making venture of the greeting card and flower companies which it had become. She felt that people buying premade greeting card were terrible. Instead she thought one should write their own words to thank their mother for all that she has done.

Before there was Anna Jarvis’ Mother’s Day holiday, there were celebrations by the ancient Greeks who worshiped the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele. Then there was also a special day called Mothering Day celebrated in England during the 1600s. The Mothering Day was known for moms receiving small cakes, knickknacks, or inexpensive jewelry as gifts.

Hallmark estimates that around 139 million Mother’s Day greeting cards are sent every year in the US. This is the third largest holiday for greeting cards companies. Christmas is first with 1.5 billion greeting cards, and Valentine’s Day with 143 million greeting cards given.

According to an article written for the US Library of Congress website, flowers became popular to give on Mother’s Day early on. In the April 27, 1911 issue of Weekly Florists’ Review, they said that Anna Jarvis had recommended the white Carnation flower to represent the holiday. The sales were so great for these white flowers that they often sold out. Then the florists began recommending other colors for the living mothers and the white ones for the ones that passed away. Jarvis was not happy with this change.

In the actual government Congressional Record, House Resolution 103 on May 10, 1913 it said “that as a token of our love and reverence for the mother, the President and his Cabinet, United States Senators, Representatives of the House, and all officials of the Federal Government are hereby requested to wear a white carnation [emphasis added] or some other white flower Sunday, May 11, in observance of Mother’s Day.”

It wasn't until May 8, 1914 that Mother’s Day was officially recognized by the US government as a holiday to be observed on the second Sunday of May each year.

According to the Society of American Florists, popular Mother’s Day Flowers include Callas, Freesia, Gerberas, Hydrangeas, Irises, Lilies, Orchids, Roses, and Tulips. Pink is the color that is most often found in Mother’s Day floral arrangements. However, new more vibrant color choices are entering in the flower arrangements such as hot pink, orange, and purple flowers.

If you have not thought of your mother lately, you might want to call and say Happy Mother’s Day. If that is too difficult, you can send a free ecard telling her thanks. Happy Mother's Day!

BY: N Wilson

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