The history of Mother's Day - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

The history of Mother's Day

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) - Americans celebrate Mother's Day on the second Sunday of May by giving mom gifts ranging from chocolates to candy, flowers and jewelry, often accompanied by a card.  

But the so-called 'Hallmark holiday' -for its emphasis on 'buying' things- was not created for this purpose. 

"It did not start with the cash register, I promise you," said Libby O'Connell, chief historian for the History channel.

"Greeks and Romans they celebrated mothers and their maternal goddesses. The early Christian church had mothering Sunday. In America, it begins 100 years ago. It was first 'officialized' by Anna Jarvis. Her mother had been a role model to her in West Virginia. She tried to unite Confederate veterans and Union veterans. She had classes for how to be a better mother. Jarvis decided she wanted to celebrate her mother and she campaigned to create an official Mother’s Day," said Libby.

As time passed, the holiday went on to become a very successful financial venture.

"Mother's Day is almost a $20 billion business in America. There is big jewelry spending going on and flowers," said O'Connell.

As Mother's Day was capitalized upon, the mother of Mother's Day spoke out.

"She wanted it to be about going to places of worship and giving thanks for mothers or giving mothers maybe a handmade card," said O'Connell.

Known as the International Mother's Day Shrine, a former church in Grafton, West Virginia honors Jarvis and all mothers.









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