Mother’s Day is a heartfelt celebration to honor the vital role mothers play in our lives. This holiday is a major event, particularly for the floral industry; after all, what better symbol than flowers to show love, gratitude, and appreciation for mothers? Yet, you may not know the incredible history of Mother’s Day.

The Roots of Mother’s Day

The tradition of honoring mothers dates back to ancient times. In Greece and Rome, festivals were held to honor mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele. However, these celebrations are not directly connected to modern Mother’s Day.

For that connection, we have to look at the Christian festival, “Mothering Sunday,” which began in the 16th century. On the fourth Sunday of Lent, the faithful would return to their “mother church” (the main church near their home) for a special service. Over time, it became more specifically a day to honor mothers. In the UK and Ireland, people still celebrate Mother’s Day on the fourth Sunday of Lent.

Mother’s Day in the United States

The origins of Mother’s Day can be traced back to the 19th century and to Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia. She established the “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to educate women on childcare. She also promoted unity after the Civil War through events called “Mothers’ Friendship Day.”

Mother’s Day became an official holiday in the 1900s thanks to Anna Jarvis, Ann’s daughter. She organized the first official Mother’s Day celebration in 1908 in West Virginia and worked throughout the years to promote it. Her work paid off: In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson declared the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

As Mother’s Day became more commercialized, Anna Jarvis grew more and more unhappy. She wanted the holiday to be a day for personal reflection and intimate family gatherings, but the focus had shifted to commercialism. In her later years, Anna actively opposed the commercialization of Mother’s Day. This battle took a toll on her, both financially and emotionally.

The Significance of Flowers

Despite Anna’s efforts, Mother’s Day flourished, with flowers at its heart. Anna Jarvis initially chose the white carnation as the official Mother’s Day flower because it was her mother’s favorite, representing purity, faithfulness, love, and charity. However, the tradition evolved, and people started gifting a variety of flowers, each carrying a message of love and appreciation. The floral industry bloomed with innovative celebrations centered on Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day Today

Today, Mother’s Day is a celebration of the enduring power of maternal love.

It transcends commercialization to focus on the heart of the celebration: the acknowledgment of mothers’ roles in our lives. It is celebrated throughout the world, and the dates may differ per country.

In the end, Mother’s Day remains a day of love, where we take a break from the daily routine and honor those who’ve given us so much. Each flower given on this day carries a story, a memory, and a thank you.