“If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love.”
Stevie Wonder

All these Mother’s Day blooms have us thinking about where it all started. We thought it would be fun to share some facts about the history of mom’s special day. Spoiler alert: it includes flowers!


While we can trace the holiday to the ancient Greeks and Romans, we really owe a thanks to Ann Reeves Jarvis for getting the U.S. version started in the 1850s. Ann (that’s her on the left) created Mother’s Day Work Clubs to help wounded Civil War soldiers. Not long after, she started Mother’s Friendship Day to bring moms of Confederate and Union veterans together.

The first formal Mother’s Day can be credited to Ann’s daughter, Anna (that’s baby Anna in the earlier photo and on the right above). But it was a much simpler affair than the brunches, flowers, and cards we’re familiar with today. Moms were first celebrated with small family gatherings at local churches in Anna’s hometown of Grafton, West Virginia.


But Anna wasn’t so fond of the holiday’s popularity. In addition to her boycotting Mother’s Day, Anna went on to criticize First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt for associating herself with a rival organization.


Anna’s mom really adored carnations, so when Anna created Mother’s Day she made red and white carnations the official Mother’s Day flower! People would wear a red carnation to celebrate a living mom, and a white one to honor a deceased mother.

You can actually still visit Anna Jarvis’ home. That’s right, the Mother’s Day founder’s residence is now a museum in Grafton, West Virginia. The museum is dedicated to Anna’s life and open for public tours.

See what’s blooming for mom and have a happy Mother’s Day!