How will you celebrate Mother’s Day? If you are like many Americans, you will gift your mom with a card and a present and maybe enjoy a meal out with her in a restaurant. According to a recent National Retail Federation (NRF) study, nearly 90 percent of Americans will celebrate Mother’s Day this year, and they will spend about $180 per person doing it. Those numbers add up to a staggering $23.1 billion holiday. That said, here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about mothers day.
Although Mother’s Day has become a huge money maker for retailers and restaurants, the day has humbler beginnings. Here are 10 things most people don’t know about the second Sunday in May.
1. Mother’s Day has its roots in Mothering Sunday, a centuries-old Christian tradition that is still celebrated in the United Kingdom and as well as other parts of Europe. Always held on the fourth Sunday in Lent, Mothering Sunday is held in honor of the Virgin Mary. Traditionally, parishioners return to visit their “mother” church that day, and children give their mothers flowers.
2. In 1870, poet Julia Ward Howe, best known for writing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” was the first person to propose an American Mother’s Day. Her heartfelt proclamation encouraged mothers to stand for world peace after the long, embittered Civil War. Although Howe organized events to honor mothers in and around Boston, her idea did not gain any real momentum.
3. Anna Reeves Jarvis, a mother of 13, is the person credited with getting an official Mother’s Day off the ground. First, she organized “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to teach women how to care for their children, and later she planned “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” a time for mothers to meet with Union and Confederate veterans. After Jarvis’s death in 1908, her daughter, Anna M. Jarvis, hosted a celebration to honor all mothers in the Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. Later, she obtained financial support from Philadelphia retailer John Wanamaker to host another, larger Mother’s Day event.
4. After years of lobbying to make Mother’s Day a national celebration, Jarvis and her supporters were able to convince President Woodrow Wilson in 1914 officially to proclaim the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. Ironically, although her efforts brought recognition to many women, Jarvis never married or had children herself.
5. Here’s another irony. Jarvis campaigned in earnest to have the holiday rescinded after she saw the way it became commercialized. She failed in that effort.
6. Phone call volume increases about 11 percent on Mother’s Day with about 68 percent of survey respondents reporting that they call or text their Moms to wish them well on the holiday.
7. Mother’s Day tops all other holidays as the busiest day of the year for U.S. restaurants. Nearly 80 million adults enjoy a meal out with Mom on Mother’s Day, a whopping number that beats out the number of people who eat out on Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve.
8. The floral industry also gears up big for Mother’s Day. Carnations became the symbol for Mother’s Day back in 1914, and florists began promoting the idea of wearing a red carnation in honor of a living mother or a white carnation in honor of one who is deceased. Although the carnation wearing tradition has waned, the idea of giving flowers on Mother’s Day has not. It beats out Valentine’s day in terms of flower sales with the NRF survey finding that 69 percent of Americans planned to buy flowers this year for the Moms in their lives.
9. In 2017, American spent $23.6 billion on Mother’s Day gifts. Here’s the breakdown: • jewelry — $5 billion • restaurant meals –$4.2 billion • flowers — $2.6 billion • greeting cards — $2.5 billion • clothes and accessories — $2.1 billion • electronics — $2 billion • luxury services (such as a manicure or a massage) — $1.9 billion.
10. Although traditions may vary from culture to culture, 94 countries currently celebrate the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. In Thailand, jasmine is the standard Mother’s Day gift, and, in Serbia, moms give treats and gifts to their children instead of the other way around. No matter how you choose to honor that special lady in your life, be sure to tell “mom” … in no uncertain terms … how much you appreciate all she does for you and your family. According to the 2017 Mother’s Day Index by Insure.com, the many household tasks most mothers routinely perform would be worth nearly $70,000 a year in a professional salary. And we all know that there is no way to put a monetary value on all her love. Happy Mother’s Day!