The founder of Mothers’ Day US ended up hating it so much she organised boycotts against it

Bridie Pearson-Jones
Sunday 14 May 2017 12:45
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Sunday is Mother's Day in the United States, a holiday created to celebrate and thanks Mothers across the country.

It's been an official holiday in the US for more than a century, since Anna Jarvis founded it in honour of her late mother.

Yet the day quickly became so commercialised that Jarvis actually organised rallies to boycott it.

Jarvis' mother - Anna Jarvis - was a social activist and community organiser in the 1850s. She founded Mothers' Day Work Clubs in five cities in West Virginia to improve sanitary and health conditions.

When her mother died in 1905, Jarvis started holding annual Mother's day events in her honour at a West Virginia church.

Two years after her Mother's death on May 12, 1907, Anna gave out 500 white carnations to all the mothers at St. Andrew’s Church in Grafton, West Virginia.

The white carnation became the official flower of Mother’s Day.

Official Mothers' Day

It quickly grew, and by 1914 President Woodrow Wilson declared it an official holiday.

However, by the 1920s, Anna Jarvis was so annoyed by the money being made off the back of the holiday by florists and confectioners she spent the rest of her life fighting against commercialisation, even getting arrested in 1925 for disturbing the peace at a confectioner’s convention in Philadelphia.

At the time she wrote

To have Mother’s Day the burdensome, wasteful, expensive gift day that Christmas and other special days have become, is not our pleasure.

 If the American people are not willing to protect Mother’s Day from the hordes of money schemers that would overwhelm it with their schemes, then we shall cease having a Mother’s Day—and we know how

She wasn't wrong, retailers estimate that this year consumers will spend $23.6 billion on the holiday.

HT ABC News, USA Today

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