• The American incarnation of Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908. She wanted to honor her late mother, Ann Jarvis, who had started a committee in 1868 to establish “Mother’s Friendship Day” to reunite families after the Civil War. Mother’s Day became an official U.S. holiday in 1914 with a congressional designation and a presidential proclamation by Woodrow Wilson.
• Anna Jarvis conceived of Mother’s Day as a day of personal celebration between mothers and families, with moms wearing a white carnation and families attending church services together. But as Mother’s Day became a national holiday and florists, card companies and other merchants capitalized on its popularity, Jarvis denounced the holiday and urged people to stop buying flowers, cards and candies.
• Mother’s Day is the second most popular holiday for gift-giving, following Christmas.
• More phone calls are made on Mother’s Day than any other day of the year. These holiday chats with Mom often cause phone traffic to spike by as much as 37 percent.
• Of all the flowers bought for holidays, one-quarter are purchased for Mother’s Day.
• There are 4.1 million new moms in America, the number of women between the ages of 15 and 50 who have given birth in the past 12 months. The U.S. Census Bureau in 2013 stated there were about 82.8 million mothers in the United States.
• Mother’s Day in the United States is always celebrated on the second Sunday in May.
• Mother’s Day is celebrated throughout the world, but dates and traditions vary. In Thailand, for example, Mother’s Day is celebrated in August on the birthday of the current queen, Sirikit. In Ethiopia, families gather each fall to sing songs and eat a large feast as part of Antrosht, a multiday celebration honoring motherhood.
– Compiled by Sue Nowicki