Various observances honoring mothers existed in the U.S. during the 1870s and the 1880s, but these never gained national stature. One of the first women to suggest a holiday in honor of women was Julia Ward Howe, a prominent abolitionist, social activist, poet. In 1870, she wrote her Mother's Day Proclamation. It was a "Mother's Day for Peace," asking women of the world to join for world's peace. Two years later, Howe asked that "Mother's Day" be celebrated on the 2nd of June. Her suggestions fell on deaf ears. By 1893 she had hoped that the 4th of July be remade into "Mother's Day." Other known celebrations that approximated Mother's Day was the Protestant school celebrations called Mothering Sunday, which included "Children's Day." Mothering Sunday was celebrated throughout Europe on the 4th Sunday in Lent. It became an occasion for honoring mothers of children and giving them presents, though originally the concept of Mothering referred to returning to one's mother church for an annual celebration.
But the modern holiday of Mother's Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother in Grafton, West Virginia. She then began a campaign to make "Mother's Day" a recognized holiday in the U.S. In 1914, her campaign proved successful as Mother's Day was established as a legal holiday. However, to her disappointment, by 1920, she was already disappointed with its level of commercialization. Jarvis' holiday was adopted by other countries and it is now celebrated all over the world. In this tradition, each person offers a gift, card, or remembrance toward their mothers, grandmothers, and/ or maternal figure on mother's day.
I was late to celebrating Mother's Day, because I argued that everyday is mother's day. But once I began to celebrate it, I overlooked the cultural contradiction (Mother's or women are not respected or honored in the West) and its economic imperative, and saw it as a time for in-gathering with my mother and siblings. I never regretted my decision, that I initially thought was politically backwards, and now that my mother has made her transition, I miss her and that day we honored her, realizing that the celebration, for me, had become spiritual. Peace, and to all the mothers, enjoy the day.