In the United States and across the world we celebrate Mother’s Day, where we take a day in May to honor our matriarchs and thank them for everything they do for us. But how did this tradition originate? And how can you make this Mother’s Day the best one yet?
Where does Mother’s Day come from?
The tradition of honoring mothers is nothing new. Celebrations of motherhood can be traced as far back as to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses, Rhea and Cybele. The earliest known incarnations after that include the Christian festival “Mothering Sunday,” which fell on the fourth Sunday in Lent and encouraged the faithful to return to their “mother church” for a special service.
Over time, this shifted into a more secular holiday where children would present their mothers with flowers and other tokens of appreciation. This custom eventually faded in popularity as American Mother’s Day became a national holiday, all but disappearing in the 1930s and ’40s.
Mother’s Day in the United States of America
Mother’s Day as we know it in the U.S. dates back all the way to the 19th century, when Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia started “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to teach mothers how to care for their children. These clubs became a unifying force in a region of the country that was, at the time, still divided over the Civil War. In 1868, Jarvis organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” where mothers could gather with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation. Even back then, mothers played peacemaker to their large families in the United States.
Another precursor to Mother’s Day came from suffragette and abolitionist Julia Ward Howe, who wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation” in 1870. She asked for mothers to unite in promoting world peace and campaigned for a “Mothers Peace Day” to be celebrated every June 2. While her idea didn’t exactly catch on, it led the way for the versions of Mother’s Day that followed.
Becoming a national holiday
The official celebration of Mother’s Day arose in the 1900s because of Anna Jarvis, the daughter of Anne Reeves Jarvis. After her mother’s death in 1905, Anna came up with Mother’s Day as a way of honoring the sacrifices mothers make for their children. She gained financial backing from a Philadelphia department store owner named John Wanamaker and, with his help, in May of 1908 she organized the first official Mother’s Day celebration at a Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia. At the same time, thousands of people celebrated the new holiday at a Wanamaker’s retail store in Philadelphia.
Jarvis’ idea was so successful that she started a letter-writing campaign to urge the adoption of Mother’s Day as an official holiday. In 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. Ironically enough, Jarvis remained unmarried and childless throughout her life — but this didn’t stop her from recognizing the importance of mothers in cultures all over the world.
Fun facts about Mother’s Day
Surprise Mom with these interesting facts you may not have known about this important holiday.
- The original Mother’s Day involved wearing a white carnation as a badge in addition to visiting one’s mother and attending church services. White carnations are still a popular choice for Mother’s Day flowers, while colorful pink ones are given as well.
- In the 1970s, women’s groups often protested on Mother’s Day to highlight the need for equal rights and access to childcare.
- Approximately 122 million calls are made to moms on Mother’s Day in the U.S. How’s that for a phone bill?
- In 1968, Coretta Scott King, the wife of Martin Luther King Jr., used Mother’s Day to host a march in support of underprivileged women and children.
- More fresh flowers and plants are purchased on Mother’s Day than for any other holiday except Christmas/Hanukkah.
How to find the perfect gift
Jewelry makes a meaningful gift for Mother’s Day because it treats Mom to something special she might not otherwise buy for herself. Shane Co. has the widest selection of gifts for Mother’s Day, all crafted by our design team with exclusive styles for every budget.
With hand-picked diamonds, rubies, sapphires, pearls and gemstones, she’ll love the beauty her Shane Co. jewelry adds to her wardrobe. Along with personalization options like engraving, as well as our other custom jewelry, you can add a unique touch to her piece she won’t find anywhere else.
Here are some of our favorite customizable Mother’s Day gift ideas:
Our Family Collection is designed to highlight the members of your family, reminding Mom of the people who love her most. Choose from our high-quality designs, like this Family Collection Moments Pendant in our signature shade of 14k rose gold or this symbolic Infinity Pendant. Pick from two to seven stones for these gorgeous necklaces in your family’s birthstones, favorite colors and more.
Want to send Mom a special message that will remind her of a special Mother’s Day? Gifting her an engraved gift means she’s getting something that’s personalized just for her. This Horizontal Bar Bracelet comes in a variety of high-quality metals and is perfect for displaying a meaningful message, name or date. She’ll also love this unique Circle Necklace with enough space for engraving and a sparkling ring of diamonds surrounding the center disc.
Mother & Child Collection
There’s no better way to celebrate motherhood than with a gift from our Mother & Child collection. She’ll radiate classic beauty with this Freshwater Pearl Mother & Child Pendant, while this customizable Mother & Child Pendant leaves a space for the special stone of your choice. Reminiscent of a mother’s embrace, this collection is sophisticated and meaningful — the perfect Mother’s Day surprise.
Other gifts we love for Mom
Lockets: The perfect place to put a picture of her family. With vintage to modern designs, our lockets are timeless pieces that will look great on every mother. This elegant Two-Tone Gold Engraved Locket has hand-engraved detailing that will stand out, just like she does.
Gemstones: Give her something stylish to wear with gemstone pieces that add lots of stunning color to her vibrant style. Try these Amethyst, Rhodolite Garnet and White Sapphire Earrings for a fashionable cluster style she’ll love to wear.
Fashion Rings: What woman doesn’t love a trendy ring? We offer many unique styles that are great for stacking, like this Bezel-Set London Blue Topaz Ring that adds a pop of sparkle to her wardrobe. She can pair them with other colorful pieces to complete a full set.
Why shop Shane Co.?
Worried about picking the right place to shop for Mother’s Day gifts? Shane Co. makes it easy to give her exactly what she wants with benefits like our Free Lifetime Warranty, where your gift is protected for free, for life. We also offer free 2-day shipping on all U.S. orders, as well as the option to buy online and pick up in store, so no matter when you’re shopping you’re sure to get your gift on time. Find a Shane Co. store near you with our store locator, or shop our entire Mother’s Day gift guide on ShaneCo.com.