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The Mothers of Mother’s Day

Did you know that the celebration of Mother’s Day is actually a relatively recent tradition with a bittersweet beginning?

The idea for the holiday was born when a woman named Anna Jarvis lost her mother, Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis. According to the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, Ann Jarvis was a peace activist during the Civil War. She took care of soldiers on both sides of the conflict and enlisted the help of other women.

Ann formed Mothers’ Day Work Clubs, urging women to put aside their differences and aid both Union and Confederate soldiers. The clubs addressed matters of public health such as raising money for medicine, providing work to women by having them care for families where the mothers were sick, inspecting for contaminated food and offering other services of that nature.

Ann had twelve children, and during the time she was organizing, running and contributing to the programs she created to assist in bringing peace and health starting with her town in West Virginia, she lost four children to disease. Another four passed away before they became adults. Anna was one of four surviving siblings.

When her mother passed, Anna decided there should be a day to honor not just her mother, but all of the women who as she put it were “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world”. It became an official holiday in the US in 1914 when Woodrow Wilson declared the 2nd Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

Today, Mother’s Day is celebrated in just under 50 countries around the world. It seems a whole lot of people agree with Anna Jarvis that although we may grow up and take care of ourselves, we wouldn’t have gotten there without some help from our mamas.

Do you have a favorite Mother’s Day tradition? Do you have a story to share about your awesome mom? Let us know in the comments!