Mother’s Day – Its Origin

Anna Jarvis

Today Dominica is part of a worldwide celebration of Mother’s day which honours mothers and the vocation of motherhood.

It is celebrated on the second Sunday of May in many countries around the world.

The first Mother’s day was celebrated in 1908 when American native Anna Jarvis held a memorial celebration for her mother Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis after her death.

Anna’s mother, Ann Jarvis, had founded Mothers’ Day Work Clubs in five cities to improve sanitary and health conditions. The Mothers’ Day Work Clubs also treated wounds, fed, and clothed both Union and Confederate soldiers with neutrality.

Anna embarked on a mission to make Mother’s day a recognised holiday in the United States.

In 1912, Anna Jarvis trademarked the phrases “second Sunday in May” and “Mother’s Day”, and created the Mother’s Day International Association. She was very specific about the location of the apostrophe; it was to be a singular possessive, for each family to honour their mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world.

By the 1920’s the holiday had become commercialized which was a great disappointment to Anna.

She and her sister Ellsinore spent their family inheritance campaigning against what the holiday had become. Both died in poverty.

According to her New York Times obituary, Jarvis became embittered because too many people sent their mothers a printed greeting card.

As she said, “A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.”

Click below for more on Anna Jarvis’ efforts to establish and gain recognition for Mother’s Day.

Disclaimer: The comments on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of Inc. All comments are approved by before they are posted. We never censor based on political or ideological points of view, but we do try to maintain a sensible balance between free speech and responsible moderating.

We will delete comments that:

  • violate or infringe the rights of any person, are defamatory or harassing or include personal attacks
  • are abusive, profane or offensive
  • contain material which violates or encourages others to violate any applicable law
  • promote hatred of any kind
  • refer to people arrested or charged with a crime as though they had been found guilty
  • contain links to "chain letters", pornographic or obscene movies or graphic images
  • are excessively long and off-message

See our full comment/user policy/agreement.


  1. hmmm
    May 14, 2012

    What do you call mothers who gave birth but prefer their men to their children? should you still say happy mothers day to her. isnt she just a birther? Giving birth is not the greatest things she could have done. Any female with egss can do that. Raising her child with love and affection. Now that is what is truly great.

  2. KA
    May 13, 2012


  3. May 13, 2012

    “Printed Card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world”

    The words above are my sentiment as well. I have always felt uncomfortable about the words of a printed card–whatever the season for its prints.

    Why? Because those words are not mine, neither are they the words of the person who sends that card to me.

    For that reason, the people of my immediate family know that I have no reverence or respect for the words of greeting cards–to send them in my name. They have accepted not to send them to me either.

    But if I am sending them words of greetings, I design my greetings with my own chosen arts and craft and words from my own mind. I understand that they do not yet have that ability to do the same for me–that is okay!

    The love of money is the root of all evil. And I agree with Anna Jarvis–Yes! The commercializing of everything in this world, is the reason we are faced with so much toil and strife coming at us from north and south and from east and west, all over and all around us.

    A mother like me, would simply be satisfied to have her children with her, privately–in a festive eating, drinking, and giving thanks to God for the Life of Love–which is what we ought to be sharing from day in and day out.

    But the majority of people do not want to share Love, most mothers will be looking out for monetary gift–not eating, drinking, sharing Love of Life and giving thanks to God; not even a gift that the son/daughter might choose to buy for that mother; they will simply close their eyes to the value of that gift never to look at it forevermore.

    But that is just too bad.

    • Francisco Telemaque
      May 14, 2012

      Anyway Elizabeth Xavier residing in Candia did not write that above, someone may have impersonated her!

      How I know?

      In the event she had written that there is no possible way she would have ended her comments, or episode without saying something about God. Besides I know her very well enough; she gave birth to one child, he is more than twenty years old, so why would she talk about son and daughter?

      We communicated yesterday, and the following is what she wrote in another forum:

      ” Good morning Guys and Girls!

      On behalf of all the men here, who forgot that they caused some of the ladies here to be a Mother, I take the privilege to wish all of you Mothers a blessed Day today. Give thanks to God for the privilege of a new year to spend with your children, to receive a phone call, an email message, or a surprise visit from those who live away from home, from time to time.

      As you think of yourself to be a Mother, today, remember also the blessedness of God’s love for you, when He flourished your womb that you were able to reproduce–whatever the number of children you have at this time.
      According to the Bible, the woman who was barren in anceint time, took it as a shameful–like a curse on her. Some of them, like the woman named Hannah, prayed to God, that she might conceive a son to her husband, who had children with his second wife. She promised that she would give that son back to God.
      God answered her prayers, and she did just as she promised. She gave that son back to God, he was raised by a priest named Eli. He was the one who observed Hanna praying, but in a whisper, so he accused her of being drunk with wine, early in the morning–can you believe that? Hannah’s son’s name was Samuel, the prophet who guided the Kings of ancient Israel, like Saul and David.

      My own mother conceived 15 times. 2 were stillborn and 3 died as young babies. 10 of us are alive–8 grown women, with our own children and 2 grown men, only one has a daughter–my beautiful Carlyn, who sings with the Fanatics musical group. I only have one, but I consider myself just as blessed.
      Let us give praise and thanks to God Almighty, because of His great Love for us, through His only begotten Son, His Person of Love, who is Jesus Christ! Amen!
      Have a great day today!

      Liz Xavier ”

      We should not impersonate others that is very, when we do that it becomes a crime, if we cannot write under or own name perhaps we should remain under the rock to which we belong!

      Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque

      • May 14, 2012

        Francisco, what are you saying here? You commented to my comment of the news article above, and suggested that I am not the writer of the news article which follows that article.

        Yes the contents of the news article which says “Today is Mother’s day” those words are my words. “Elizabeth Xavier living in Canada”

        No one has impersonated me. I wrote the comment above which you responded to, and I wrote the contents of that which is in your comments here.

        Did you not see that writing of mine sent to our email forum? Read again and again and you will see that no one has impersonated me.

      • Anonymous
        May 14, 2012

        Wait a minute? Lizavier4jesus is copyrighted on DNO?? Where in the article did it say it was written by Elizabeth Xavier residing in Canada?? Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque please get a life.

  4. Exceptional
    May 13, 2012

    Dont mind the origin. The concept. Now everything is so commercialized that all concepts that are worth some salt boils down to earning dollars that are unavailable. Those who have to spend on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day or what ever day… lucky for you. I will not buy because I am caught in a marketing strategy. Not for mother, father or wifey or anybody.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

:) :-D :wink: :( 8-O :lol: :-| :cry: 8) :-? :-P :-x :?: :oops: :twisted: :mrgreen: more »

 characters available