Why Do We Celebrate Mother's Day? It's About More Than Just Greeting Cards

Every second Sunday in May, people around the nation celebrate Mother's Day by buying cards and showering their mom with a little extra love and attention (and maybe a gift or two). But while there's no question that the woman who raised us deserves our utmost gratitude and affection, there are actually deeper reasons as to why we celebrate Mother's Day — ones that date back more than 100 years in history.

It all started back in 1905, when Anna Jarvis began publicly campaigning to make "Mother's Day" a recognized holiday in the United States. Jarvis' efforts were inspired by her late mother, Ann Jarvis, a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the Civil War and had created Mother’s Day Work Clubs in order to address public health issues. Following her mom's death that same year, the younger Jarvis wanted to honor her mother by continuing her work and working to create a day to celebrate moms everywhere.

Though a proposal for the holiday was initially rejected by the U.S. Congress in 1908, the idea for Mother's Day quickly began to gain popularity and most states began celebrating it as a local holiday by 1911. Three years later, Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation officially designating Mother's Day a national holiday.

Of course, in the years since, the holiday has become quite commercialized, thanks to companies touting mom-specific gifts and cards. Jarvis, for her part, openly protested the day's commercialization prior to her death in 1948. She argued that people should appreciate and honor their mothers through handwritten letters expressing love and gratitude, rather than buying gifts, flowers, or pre-made cards.

While the holiday may not be quite what she initially envisioned, there's no question that Jarvis' Mother's Day has become an important day of the year for families everywhere. Whether you celebrate it with a lovely handwritten letter (as Jarvis initially intended), flowers and a greeting card, or a nice brunch, what's most important is that you show your appreciation for the woman who has loved and cared for you for your entire life. After all, as Jarvis once said, no one in the world has done more for you than your mom.

Images: Warner Brothers; Giphy