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American Mother’s Day: the Past, the Present, and the Presents

September 28, 2017 Lifestyle No Comments Email Email

Families in the United States celebrate Mother’s Day, or also known as Mom’s Day, on the second Sunday in May. Unlike other countries’ religious background, Mother’s Day in this country came to life thanks to the women’s tireless endeavor. A lot of American women in history fought to make this day official, and it was finally realized in the 1900s. It is believed that the Mother’s Day celebrated around the world, despite the difference in the traditions and customs, is the fruit of this gallant effort.

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The Past

While the exact origin of Mother’s Day in the US is unknown, two women are credited as the major contributors. They are Julia Ward Howe and Anna Jarvis, who lived in a different century.

Circa 1800s, American poet and author Julia Ward Howe dedicated her life to encourage pacifist feminism, which is peace and disarmament among women. One of her efforts was for the people to celebrate Mother’s Day. It was successfully held in Boston under her guidance for about ten years but dissipated after her death.

Anna Jarvis inadvertently continued the fight started by Julia Ward Howe. She was a social activist from West Virginia who named her mother, Ann Jarvis, as the reason behind her dedication. Ann Jarvis herself was a peace activist during the American Civil War. She was the one who started the Mother’s Day Work Club, originally to address the public health issue. After her death in 1904, her daughter Anna vowed to continue her work by devoting a day to honor mothers.

Jarvis fought a hard fight due to the common mindset in the 1900s that men are superior to women. At that time, women’s rights had not been established and cause people to not take her efforts seriously. However, she continued to lobby for her movement and little by little, breakthrough upon breakthrough, she managed to appeal directly to Woodrow Wilson, the President of United States at the time. In 1914, Wilson made Mother’s Day official and the celebration got nationwide recognition.

As a result of this success, Anna Jarvis is known as the Mother of Mother’s Day. Interestingly, Jarvis herself never became a mother.

The Present

Since its conception, the tradition surrounding Mother’s Day in America doesn’t change much. It is, however, enthusiastically celebrated. It is considered as the next big day after Christmas and Valentine’s Day. For more on how to celebrate Christmas in style visit Roses Only.

On this day, children treat their mother with special care and show their love and appreciation. Typically, this begins at home in the morning as they surprise their mother with breakfast in bed. Gifting flowers and cards are also prevalent, as well as going out to eat dinner. Younger children may play an instrument or sing a song dedicated to their mother. Family photographs are usually taken with the mothers on this day, especially because Mother’s Day falls during springtime when all the flowers are blooming and the weather is perfect.

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Mother’s Day is a national holiday in the US but it is not a public holiday. That means on this day, companies are not required by law to give the day off to their employees. Businesses and public services continue on as usual.

The Presents

Carnations have been the symbol of Mother’s Day since Anna Jarvis gave away 500 of them in 1908, the first time she celebrated Mother’s Day. This custom continues on until today where people either gift or wear a carnation arrangement. The traditional color for Mother’s Day is red or pink. White carnations are dedicated to those whose mother had passed. One of the Mother’s Day tradition is for children to go to their mother’s grave and lay a bouquet or wreath of white carnations on the headstone to honor her.

In 2016, 84% Americans celebrated Mother’s Day. Most of them were aged between 25 to 34 years old. A total of $21.4 billion was spent for gifts that year. That number increased significantly in 2017 to a record-breaking amount of $23.6 billion. Around 63.9% of those dollars went to buying gifts for mothers or stepmothers, followed by gifts for wives, daughter, sister, and grandmother. This indicates that to Americans, Mother’s Day isn’t just a day to celebrate motherhood but also women in general.

Greeting cards and flowers were the most popular gifts during 2017’s Mother’s Day as over 70% of people purchased these two presents for their mothers. However, the biggest spending went to jewelry purchase which amounted to a total of $5 billion. Jewelry tends to be pricey compared to other gifts, which may account for this significant number.

According to a 2013 survey, 76% of mothers prefer fresh flowers to other types of gifts. It is widely recognized as a simple yet lasting expression of love and appreciation. Dinner, cards, and homemade items are also a mother’s favorite presents. Most children prefer to shop for their gifts, though. A little over 33% of them bought the items in a department store. They also love to shop at a specialty store and online.

A mother’s love for her children is like nothing else in this world. It is truly the greatest gift one can receive in a lifetime. Mother’s Day is the one day in a year dedicated to showing her your love and appreciation for everything she has done, so make sure you get it right. There are over 85.4 million moms in the US, and Mother’s Day is undoubtedly a busy time commercially. Plan your gifts ahead of time to ensure availability and timely delivery.

Image Source: Pixabay

This Mother’s day, cook Mom a breakfast in bed and decorate her house with flowers. The simplest gesture of thank you is the most sincere and genuine thing a son or daughter can do for their mother. Even for just once a year, let’s shower our mothers with the love and attention she deserves.

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