From gifting flowers, cards, breakfast in bed, and candy, Mother’s Day is deeply rooted in common traditions that pay tribute to moms around the world, ultimately thanking them for providing life. But how did we get here? In the United States, the holiday can be traced back to one determined woman—Anna Jarvis.
The official Mother’s Day holiday came to be in the 1900s as a result of the Anna Jarvis’s efforts. Following her mother’s death in 1905, Jarvis developed the notion of Mother’s Day as a way of honoring the upmost sacrifices that mothers make for their children. Upon gaining financial backing from a wealthy department store owner, she organized her first official celebration at a Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia.
After the success of the first celebration, Jarvis resolved to have the holiday officially added to the national calendar. She started a large letter-writing campaign, arguing that the majority of American holidays were biased toward male achievements. By 1912, multiple churches, towns, and states had adopted Mother’s Day as an annual holiday, which led to Jarvis establishing the Mother’s Day International Association to help promote the cause. Her hard work paid off—in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson officially signed a measure establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
When you’re celebrating the beauty of motherhood this year, don’t forget the one woman who fought tirelessly to make it a nationally recognized holiday.