Celebrations of motherhood have been happening for centuries, going back to ancient Greece and Rome. In England a holiday called “Mothering Sunday” was celebrated in honor of Mary, mother of Jesus. This holiday later became a celebration to honor all mothers in England. Mother’s Day in America was loosely inspired by the British tradition, but heavily influenced by Julia Ward Howe who pressed for a “Mother’s Day for Peace” in the 1870s. She was honored for her efforts with a stamp issued in 1988. Howe’s ideas may have been influenced by an earlier crusader for “Mothers Friendship Day” – Ann Marie Jarvis.
Jarvis’ daughter Anna succeeded in establishing Mother’s Day as a holiday to honor all mothers, living and dead. She started a letter writing campaign urging businesses, members of Congress, and ministers to support a national Mother’s Day
The first Mother’s Day was celebrated on May 10, 1908 and the idea gained in popularity with the formation of The Mother’s Day International Association in 1912 and President Woodrow Wilson officially proclaimed the second Sunday of May as Mother’s Day the first US Mother’s Day holiday and celebrated May 9, 1914
Today Mother’s Day has become one of this country’s revered “institutions”