The history of Mother’s Day is about one hundred and fifty years old. It was started by American activist Anna Jarvis in the year 1908. Anna had united the ground and the sky to get Mother’s Day recognized, had faced all the difficulties, but there came a time when she started hating it. Anna also campaigned against Mother’s Day.
Who was Anna Jarvis? Anna was born on May 1, 1864, in West Virginia, USA. This was the period when America was battling the Civil War. People were upset…were facing all kinds of difficulties. Anna’s 9 siblings succumbed to diseases like typhoid, measles and diarrhoea. Anna’s greatest inspiration came from her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, who was working for women’s rights and their well being at that time.
Ann Reeves Jarvis used to work towards providing sanitation, child care, mother and child deaths to working women, and also trained women. She used to say, “I pray that a day will surely come when a special day will be made for mothers across the world and mothers who serve humanity with a sincere heart will be honored on that day.”
The initiative taken after the death of the mother: Anna’s mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died in 1905. After this, Anna decided to make her mother’s dream come true. He started writing letters to politicians, industrialists, churches etc. and sought their support to celebrate the second Sunday of May as Mother’s Day and dedicate it to mothers. Anna also chose the second Sunday of May because it was very close to May 9, which was her mother’s death anniversary.
Success after 3 years: Eventually Anna’s hard work started paying off. For the first time in the year 1908, two programs of Mother’s Day were organized. One at Andrews Methodist Church in Anna’s hometown of Grafton, and the second in Philadelphia. After this, the number of events on Mother’s Day started increasing.
Finally became law: In 1914, James Heflin of Alabama introduced a formal law to recognize Mother’s Day in the US House of Representatives. A few days later, the then President Woodrow Wilson declared it as the State Day of America.
Why campaign?: As Mother’s Day grew in popularity, so did its commercialization. Flowers, greeting cards, chocolates, gifts industry as if this is a golden opportunity. Everyone started to capitalize on this day. This made Anna Jarvis very sad and she started campaigning against it. Wrote many letters, met leaders but did not seem to be getting much benefit.
Had to go to jail too After this, Anna started a campaign to end Mother’s Day. Get people to sign from door to door. During one such protest in the year 1925, he was also arrested and had to go to jail. In her last moments, Anna was completely alone. Seeing and hearing also decreased. He died in an old age home in November 1948.