Every year, on the second Sunday of May, the hustle and bustle of Mother's Day takes over the United States. From bustling restaurants to overflowing flower shops, the day is a dedicated time to shower moms with affection and appreciation. But this cherished tradition boasts a rich history. It extends far beyond store-bought gifts and celebratory meals.

Peeling back the layers, we discover that Mother's Day in the USA has its roots in a deeply personal story of love and remembrance. In its initial form, it wasn't about commercialism or profit. It was a heartfelt tribute to mothers' immense and often invisible contributions to their children's lives and the fabric of society.

Join us as we delve into the captivating story behind the celebration in the USA. We'll explore:

  • The inspiring tale of Anna Jarvis.
  • The historical forces that shaped the holiday.
  • How Mother's Day has transformed over the decades.


The Origin of Mother's Day

Mother and child at breakfast with "I Love Mom" note

Mother's Day, dedicated to moms, has origins stretching beyond greeting cards and carnations. Here's a glimpse into its fascinating history:

  • Ancient Roots. The concept of honoring mothers has existed for millennia. Ancient Greeks celebrated Rhea, the mother of gods, during their spring festivals. Similarly, Romans paid homage to Cybele, another mother goddess. These celebrations laid the groundwork for future traditions.
  • Mothering Sunday. It's a Christian festival originating in 16th-century England. It served as a more direct precursor. Observed on the fourth Sunday of Lent, it encouraged people to return to their "mother church" for a special service. This day also became a time for families to reunite and show appreciation to mothers. It blurred the lines between religious observance and familial recognition.
  • Anna Jarvis and the Modern Movement. We know that modern Mother's Day can be attributed to Anna Jarvis. Following the death of her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, in 1905, Anna passionately advocated for a dedicated day to honor mothers. In 1907, she held a memorial service at her mother's church in West Virginia. It's considered the first official Mother's Day celebration. Determined to make it a national holiday, Anna's tireless campaigning paid off. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson declared Mother's Day a national holiday in the USA. 


History of Mother's Day in the USA: A Timeline

Pink roses with "Mother's day" tag on wood

The history of Mother's Day in the USA is a story of love, activism, and dedication. It all started in 1908 when Anna Jarvis, a social activist and writer, held a memorial for her mother. Her mother worked as a peace activist during the Civil War.

Inspired by her mother's legacy, Jarvis began campaigning for a national holiday to honor: 

  • Mothers.
  • And motherhood.

She believed that mothers were the backbone of society. They deserved to be recognizable for their tireless work.

In 1914, the same year that Mother's Day became an official USA holiday, Congress passed a resolution. It designated the second Sunday in May as American Red Cross Day. Thus, it was a connection between motherhood and service to others.

Many traditions associated with Mother's Day today were popularized during the early years of the holiday's establishment. The holiday's official date, the second Sunday in May, has also remained unchanged. 


Anna Jarvis: The Mother of Mother's Day

i love mommy

The very first Mother's Day celebration wasn't a flashy affair. Imagine a quiet church service where Anna Jarvis, inspired by her mother's love, handed out 500 white carnations – her mother's favorite blossom. This simple gesture birthed a tradition. The white carnation, symbolizing purity, love, and unwavering maternal strength, became the official flower of Mother's Day.

Early on, the celebration focused on family time and church attendance. But World War II reshaped the day's significance. The focus shifted to honoring mothers for their contributions to the war effort. This day became a day of patriotism. It’s a time to celebrate the mothers who supported the troops from afar, their strength a pillar during a tumultuous time.


True Meaning of Mother's Day in the USA

Happy family with US flags celebrating

The true meaning is to:

  • Honor and celebrate the love and sacrifice of mothers and maternal figures. 

It's a day to show appreciation and gratitude for the countless ways mothers have made a difference in our lives.

 Mother's Day in the USA is a time to:

  • Reflect on the selflessness and devotion that mothers have shown throughout history.
  • Recognize the hard work and sacrifices that mothers make every day. And it is often without recognition or thanks.

Mothers have been at the forefront of many social movements. And they have played a critical role in shaping the world we live in today.

  • This can range from women's suffrage to civil rights.
  • Mothers have also been instrumental in:

- promoting health;

- and wellness in their families and communities. 

  • Mothers have played a vital role in education and literacy throughout history. 
  • Many mothers have started businesses. They have become entrepreneurs, creating jobs and driving economic growth. 


National Mother's Day: Celebration Across the USA

Mother and child holding striped US flag in field.

Mother's Day is a cherished tradition across the United States. Here's a peek into how Americans celebrate this special day:

  • Family Time. At the heart of Mother's Day lies the simple joy of spending quality time with family. From elaborate brunches to backyard barbecues, families come together to create lasting memories.
  • Gift-Giving. Expressing gratitude often takes the form of gifts. Flowers, especially carnations, are a popular choice, symbolizing love and respect. Sentimental gifts like homemade cards, crafts, or photo albums hold a special place too.
  • Acts of Service. Many families lighten Mom's load by taking over household chores. This National Mother's Day involves many activities. They are cooking a meal, running errands, or tackling those long-overdue cleaning projects. It's a chance to show appreciation through action.
  • Spa Day at Home. A day of pampering can be a delightful way to show Mom how much she's valued. Relaxing baths, homemade massages, or creating a spa-like atmosphere at home allows her to unwind and recharge.
  • Personalized Touches. Some families opt for personalized experiences. Take Mom on a nature walk. Attend a concert she'd enjoy. Or plan a movie night with her favorite films. Those options are thoughtful ways to celebrate her interests.
  • Social Media Recognition. The digital age brings its own twist to Mother's Day. Social platforms are full of heartfelt messages, photos, and videos expressing gratitude.
  • Charitable Donations. Some choose to honor mothers by making charitable donations in their name to causes they care about. This way, they celebrate motherhood while giving back to the community.

Mother's Day celebration meaning in the USA may vary. However, the core sentiment remains constant. It's expressing deep appreciation for the love, sacrifices, and unwavering support mothers provide.


Bottom Line

Mother's Day transcends the realm of greeting cards and store-bought gifts. It's a heartfelt expression of gratitude for the incredible women. Those raise us, nurture us, and support us throughout our lives. The day revolves around creating memories and showing Mom just how much she means.

Despite the history of Mother's Day, one important point is flowers. Blooms, particularly carnations, remain a timeless symbol of Mother's Day. Their vibrant hues and classic association with love and respect make them a cherished gift.  

However, the true essence of Mother's Day lies in the personalized touches. Whether it's a handwritten card or a delicious breakfast prepared with love, it doesn’t matter. The most meaningful gestures come from the heart.

Ultimately, the origin of Mother's Day serves as a powerful reminder to cherish the mothers in our lives. It’s no matter their background or circumstance. It's a day to celebrate the unwavering love, unwavering support, and countless sacrifices that mothers make. 

Make Mom's Day bloom!  Order beautiful flowers for her celebration through our easy-to-use website. Need help finding the perfect bouquet? Our customer service hub is just a click away! 



When was the first Mother's Day celebrated?

The first Mother's Day was celebrated in Grafton, West Virginia, on May 10, 1908. This day is to honor all mothers for their sacrifices and contributions.

Who created Mother's Day?

Mother's Day was conceptualized and initiated by Anna Jarvis. It's inspired by her own mother's dedication to community service and maternal love. She campaigned tirelessly to establish a day dedicated to honoring mothers.

When is National Mother's Day?

National Mother's Day in the United States falls on the second Sunday of May each year. It's a tradition established by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914 following a resolution passed by Congress.

Do different regions of the USA have distinctive Mother's Day celebration ways?

Yes, different regions have distinctive ways of celebration. It depends on local customs and traditions. For example, in some regions, families gather for a picnic or barbecue. While in other regions, they attend special events or performances.


Read Also:

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April 03, 2024 — Alexandr Oleynik