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What is the History of Mother's Day?

by Alexis Burson 5/8/2009 11:52:00 AM

Red and Pink Carnations

The idea of setting aside one day each year to honor mothers was the suggestion of Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia.  On May 12, 1907 Anne held a memorial service for her late mother in Grafton, West Virginia.  She asked those in attendance to wear white carnations to celebrate her mother.  The observance sparked a trend across the nation and within 5 years nearly every state participated in the May celebration.  On May 9, 1914 President Woodrow Wilson declared Mother's Day a national holiday.  

Mother's Day is now celebrated in the United States on the 2nd Sunday in May.  Popular convention suggests wearing pink and red carnations to pay tribute to living mothers and a white carnation in rememberance of a mother who has died.

"Mother's Day." Entry 1236. Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary. 2nd ed. 1997. 211.

"Mother's Day." The Folklore of American Holidays. 2nd ed. 1991. 280-281.


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