11 Things You Didn’t Know About Mother’s Day

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, we’ve rounded up 11 fun facts about the holiday:

  • Making an effort to recognize mothers dates all the way back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals celebrating the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele.
  • The modern iteration of Mother’s Day got its start in 1908, thanks to a woman named Anna Jarvis. When her mother passed away, Jarvis held a memorial for her and came up with the idea of Mother’s Day, a way for people to honor their own mothers.
  • Jarvis was inspired by a Sunday School lesson on mothers in the Bible that her mother gave years prior. Jarvis remembered her mother saying, “I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mother’s day.”
  • Mother’s Day became an official national holiday in 1914, but by the 1920s, Jarvis wanted the decision reversed. She was disgusted with the commercialization of the holiday and the profit florists and greeting card companies were making on a holiday that she envisioned as a celebration of time spent between mother and child. Jarvis spent the rest of her life unsuccessfully lobbying the government to remove it from the calendar of federal holidays.
  • It’s hard to blame Jarvis for being disappointed with the commercialization of the holiday. Retailers report that Mother’s Day is second to Christmas as the highest gift-giving holiday of the year.
  • Hallmark estimates that 96 percent of American consumers take part in Mother’s Day in some way.
  • The National Retail Federation estimates Mother’s Day spending will rise 11 percent from last year, averaging $168.94.
  • Getting Mom flowers on Sunday? So are plenty of others—in fact, Mother’s Day flowers make up an entire quarter of annual sales for the $34 billion floral industry. (Read about why organic flowers are best!)
  • Carnations are the unofficial flower of Mother’s Day (Jarvis had delivered hundreds of them at the first celebration—carnations were her mother’s favorite). Traditionally, colorful carnations honor living mothers, while wearing a white carnation honors a deceased mother.
  • A phone call to Mom goes a long way…in fact, it’s believed that Mother’s Day is the peak day of the year for long distance calls.
  • Over 140 countries celebrate Mother’s Day…and some even do it twice. Mongolia celebrates on March 8th for International Mother’s Day (known as International Women’s Day in other countries), and on June 1st for Mothers and Children’s Day.

Mother’s Day eCards

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Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson2 years ago

mom's are important. I hope I am always a good one

Connie O.
Connie O.2 years ago

Carnations are my favorite! Interesting article.

Robynne W.
Robynne W.2 years ago

I didn't know about the carnations....I will wear a white one next year.

Angelene B.
Angelene B.2 years ago

Commercialization does suck, but nonetheless, it's nice to show your mom how special she is and for her to have a special day.

Fred B.
martin hogan2 years ago

During that much loved Victorian era - the 19th century BCE, there arose the tradition of letting children have the day off work so they could visit their families. Jarvis lacked any understanding of economic and political culture, thinking that she 'invented' anything at all is bizarre

Robert Hardy
Robert Hardy2 years ago

People will sell anything. Sad. But do love our mothers.

Jaime A.
Jaime Alves2 years ago


greenplanet e.
greenplanet e.2 years ago


Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson2 years ago

I am lucky with my phone calls... I live abroad and can call on Sunday my time and miss the clogged lines and dropped calls and still get credit with Mom for being the first to remember Mother's Day!

Nimue Pendragon
Nimue Pendragon2 years ago