May 6, 2021: In 1908 —113 years ago — West Virginia became the first state to celebrate Mother’s Day. By 1914, it was observed as a holiday in all U.S. states. This year, Americans are expected to spend $28 billion to celebrate the holiday.
The origins of Mother’s Day came about in what many today would consider an unusual way. In 1908, Congress actually voted against making Mother’s Day a national holiday.
That happened after a West Virginia woman named Anna Jarvis began pushing for a Mother’s Day holiday in 1905 (the year her own mother died).
In 1908, she put on a memorial for her mother at St. Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia, which is now home to the International Mother’s Day Shrine.
When Congress rejected the holiday, Jarvis went to the states. West Virginia became the first to celebrate Mother’s Day, and by 1912, many states were celebrating the observance.
President Woodrow Wilson decided it was better late than never for the federal government to catch up, finally declaring Mother’s Day a national holiday in 1914.
Jarvis had envisioned Mother’s Day as a day to celebrate and continue the charity work her mother had done. Among other things, her mother had tended to the wounded on both sides during the Civil War.
Jarvis herself later became discouraged by the commercialization of the celebration.
Each weekday, Scott Rasmussen's Number of the Day explores interesting and newsworthy topics at the intersection of culture, politics and technology. Columns published on Ballotpedia reflect the views of the author. Scott Rasmussen's Number of the Day is published by Ballotpedia weekdays at 9 a.m. Eastern. Columns published on Ballotpedia reflect the views of the author. Scott Rasmussen is founder and president of the Rasmussen Media Group. He is the author of "Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement Is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System," "In Search of Self-Governance," and "The People's Money: How Voters Will Balance the Budget and Eliminate the Federal Debt." Read Scott Rasmussen's Reports — More Here.
- History, "Mother’s Day 2021," April 30, 2021
- Statista, "Planned total expenditure on Mother's Day in the United States from 2007 to 2021," April 26, 2021
- Fort Worth Weekly, "Mother’s Day 2021 is Here!," May 5, 2021
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