The History of Mother’s Day
Records indicate that the ancient Greeks and Romans celebrated mothers/motherhood with festivals honoring their mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele. A more modern representation of Mother’s Day can be found in an early Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday.” This European tradition was seen as a time when the faithful would return to their “mother church”, the main church near their home, for a special service.
Over time, the “Mothering Sunday” tradition shifted to a more secular holiday where children would present their mothers with flowers and other tokens of appreciation. This custom eventually faded in popularity before merging with the American Mother’s Day in the 1930s and 1940s.
Did you know that more phone calls are made on Mother’s Day than any other day of the year!
Dr. Greenberg and his mother, Claire
The pioneers of Mother’s Day
The origins of Mother’s Day celebrated in the United States date back to the 19th century! Early Mother’s Day pioneers include:
- Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia helped start “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to teach women how to properly care for their children. After the Civil War, in 1868, Jarvis organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” at which mothers gathered with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation.
- In 1870, abolitionist and suffragette Julia Ward Howe wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” a call to action that asked mothers to unite in promoting world peace. In 1873 Howe campaigned for a “Mother’s Peace Day” to be celebrated every June 2.
- Juliet Calhoun Blakely, a temperance activist, inspired a local Mother’s Day in Albion, Michigan, in the 1870s.
- In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Mary Towles Sasseen and Frank Hering both worked to organize a Mothers’ Day. Some have even called Hering “the father of Mothers’ Day.”
Mother's Day added to National Calendar
The official Mother’s Day holiday came about in the early 1900s as a result of the efforts of Anna Jarvis, daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis. Following her mother’s 1905 death, Anna Jarvis conceived of Mother’s Day as a way of honoring the sacrifices mothers made for their children.
In May 1908, with the backing of John Wanamaker, a Philadelphia store owner, she organized the first official Mother’s Day celebration at a Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia. On that same day, thousands of people attended a Mother’s Day event at one of Wanamaker’s retail stores in Philadelphia. Both events were a huge success!
Despite the fact that Anna Jarvis remained unmarried and childless her whole life, she resolved to see her holiday added to the national calendar! She started a massive letter writing campaign to newspapers and prominent politicians urging the adoption of a special day honoring motherhood.
By 1912 many states, towns and churches had adopted Mother’s Day as an annual holiday, and Jarvis had established the Mother’s Day International Association to help promote her cause. In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson officially established the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
Give your mom a Special Gift!
We realize that ALL moms are SPECIAL in their own unique ways! Tell us about YOUR MOM for a chance to WIN a special gift for her! From May 8-11, 2023, we’re asking our patients to stop by the office or email us and tell us why they have the BEST MOM. The RxSmile Orthodontics team will read through all entries submitted in the office and online and pick one deserving mom for a FREE in-office professional ZOOM teeth whitening session. Winner will be announced on Monday, May 15th.
If you have questions about our professional in-office ZOOM teeth whitening, or about starting orthodontic treatment, contact our office for a Complimentary Consultation. We’ll be happy to answer any questions regarding treatment, insurance and financing options. Call (972) 335-1300 Monday through Thursday, or submit an online appointment request and we will respond within one business day.