The pioneer of Mother’s Day and its untold horror story

Hephzibah Oluwajobi, Staff Writer

Mother’s Day is this next week, Sunday May 8, 2022. It’s a day where good kids make their mother breakfast in bed, buy them gifts or take them out to eat. Meanwhile, the not-so-good kids who forget Mother’s Day give their mother a hug and quietly question why a day like this exists.

The history of Mother’s Day dates back to ancient Greeks and Romans where they held festivals to honor their mother goddesses named Rhea and Cybele. The most modern precedent dates back to a Christian festival called Mothering Sunday. It was a tradition in the UK for saints to go back to their home church or mother church for a special service.

In the United States, Anna Jarvis was the pioneer of the Mother’s Day celebration. Anna Jarvis’s mother -Ann Reeves Jarvis- had started the Mother’s Day club to teach women in the community how to care for their children.

Shortly after she died in 1905, Anna wanted a day that celebrated mothers and all the sacrifices they made for their kids. So, in 1908, she planned the first official Mother’s Day celebration at a Methodist church in West Virginia.

Jarvis worked most of her life to ensure that her holiday was added into the calendar; her main argument was that the holidays were more biased  since they only highlighted male’s achievement. She even created the Mother’s Day international association to help fight for her cause.

She finally won when President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure establishing Mother’s Day as the second Sunday in the month of May in 1914.

Yay! Right?

Nay. A Big NAY! Soon after Mother’s Day became official, Anna Jarvis wished her dreams never came true because the capitalists, or should I say normal business owners, soon commercialized on Mother’s Day. Companies started making Mother’s Day cards, Mother’s Day candies and even now we have Mother’s Day t-shirts and mugs which are undeniably cute, but it was a nightmare to Anna Jarvis.

Jarvis wanted this holiday to be close up and personal; she wanted the traditions of giving mothers white carnations, visiting her or attending church services to continue. So how did she respond to the new adaptation of this holiday?

She started a whole campaign against the holiday she helped create. First, she sued companies for using the name “Mother’s Day” to make profit which had her spending most of her money on legal fees and by the time she died, she was actively lobbying to have it removed from the calendar. Pretty sad story, right?

This is a lesson to learn if you are one of the broke kids who can’t even afford to buy their mom a $5 card. You can always pluck a weed flower of any color to give to your mom or spend quality time with her because that is how Anna Jarvis wanted it. After all, it is the thoughts, not the gifts, that count.