Origin of Mother’s Day

A MOTHER IS LIKE A FLOWER, EACH ONE BEAUTIFUL, AND UNIQUE… Pictured Sandra Saenz with three-year-old son Rafael and baby bump due in September. Photo: Kelly Carmody.

MUMS didn’t invent Mother’s Day so they could get breakfast in bed and maybe a cheeky present (although that’s a great bonus), the origin of Mother’s Day as we know it took place in the early 1900s.

Anna Jarvis started a campaign for an official holiday honoring mothers in 1905, the year her own mother died. The first larger-scale celebration of the holiday was in 1908, when Jarvis held a public memorial for her mother in her hometown of Grafton, West Virginia, USA.

Over the next few years, Jarvis pushed to have the holiday officially recognised, and it was celebrated increasingly in more and more states around the USA. Finally, in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation making Mother’s Day an official holiday, to take place the second Sunday of May.

Anna Jarvis put Mother’s Day on the calendar as a day dedicated to expressing love and gratitude to mothers, acknowledging the sacrifices women make for their children.

It didn’t take off in Australia until 1923, when the late Mrs. Janet Heyden was concerned over lonely, forgotten aged mothers in Sydney’s Newington State Hospital, where she visited an old friend regularly.

She started a campaign throughout the city for donations to buy presents for these women.
Newspapers carried her appeals, while she made personal requests to many of Sydney’s leading business houses.

The response amounted to a ton of donations, which were stored in the Sydney Feminist Club. They ranged from talcum powder and soap to knitted scarves and mittens. Confectionery manufacturers, leading firms and the Sydney Fruit Market all contributed toward Mrs Heyden’s gifts for ‘her’ lonely mothers, and the rest is history.

A MOTHER IS LIKE A FLOWER, EACH ONE BEAUTIFUL, AND UNIQUE… Pictured Sandra Saenz with three-year-old son Rafael and baby bump due in September. Photo: Kelly Carmody.