Two women are given credit for our modern day celebration but the dates when it began are inconsistent. Julia Ward Howe began the custom in Boston (1870) with a mothers' day proclamation to unite to promote world peace. The movement lasted for ten years before fading away. The current holiday can also be traced to Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia who introduced a Mothers' Friendship Day in 1878(or 1868) to reunite families divided by the Civil War.
In 1905 upon Ann Reeves Jarvis' death, her daughter Anna launched a campaign to honor her. In 1908 the first "official" Mother's Day celebration was held in St. Andrews Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. This led to President Woodrow Wilson proclaiming the second Sunday in May a national holiday in 1914. Anna Jarvis had sought out florists to donate carnations for mothers attending the first celebration which soon became a commercial project. She was so upset by this she later filed lawsuits to prevent retailers profiting from the holiday and unsuccessfully lobbied the government to remove its holiday status. Mother's Day now honors a number of other significant females including mothers-in-law, step-mothers, aunts, friends who represent mothers, etc.
The custom of giving or wearing flowers to honor mothers has continued. In time, the red flower came to signify a living mother while the white indicated one deceased. While carnations remain the most popular choice, roses were commonly chosen in my area, probably because they were home-grown and free.
Many countries honor mothers on the same day as the United States, including Canada, Australia, and India. However, the Hindus in India celebrate the Divine Mother (goddess Durga) in a ten day festival in October. The second most popular month is March which the UK has designated at Mothering Sunday. This term was originally a commemoration of the Mother Church and people returning to the church where baptized. Young servants were given a holiday to return to church and family, taking gifts of food and clothing from their employers. Ethiopia and Serbia have a three day celebration to honor mothers. In some countries, Mother's Day is second only to Christmas in importance. Whatever it is called, or however long the celebration, the purpose is universal. We are honoring the one who gave us life in whatever way our customs dictate.
If you celebrate by giving flowers, food, or other gifts on this special day, I hope you will consider a book of poems this holiday. (Forgive me, Anna Jarvis, for this blatant promotion on the day you tried so hard to keep free of commercials.) I think a mother of any age would enjoy A Potpourri of Poems which includes a variety of forms, subjects, and moods, some of which speak to mothers directly as the one below. The book is available in ebook or large print, both color and black & white. It contains one hundred poems and thirty-three full color pictures in one edition and the same pictures in gray scale in the other. And for those who prefer to listen rather than read, this book is now offered in audible form.
Excerpt from A Potpourri of Poems:
GOODBYE, MY CHILDREN
Goodbye, my children,
if only I …had known that you were going
I would have said goodbye.
But you were very little
And I thought that time would wait
till I saw that the sand had shifted
and the hour was very late.
All the happy times together,
all the things I had planned to do,
were lost when the hourglass tilted
and the childhood days poured through.
For the carefree hours have vanished
as the tiny grains of sand
and the shining glass upended
lies empty in my hand.
Goodbye, my children, if only I
had known that you were going I would have said goodbye.
Check this link for the choices and to read more poems: Link: http://amzn.com/B01DFJJCV0Find my books here: http://www.amazon.com/Linda-Swift/e/B004PGXCTQ/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0