May 10 should be considered a special day for everyone. It was that day, in the little town of Grafton, West Virginia, that Mother’s Day was first established as an official holiday.
WBOY in West Virginia explains the history of the holiday that has made the state so proud. “Anna Jarvis of Grafton wanted a celebration to honor her own mother, Anna Reeves Jarvis, who had passed away in 1905. After her mother’s death, Anna began writing letters to the legislature asking that they dedicate the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. This effort by Anna is what gave her the title of the founder of Mother’s Day. The first Mother’s Day celebration took place on May 10, 1908, in Taylor County.
While other locations may have observed Mother’s Day in some sort of fashion, it was Anna who got it put on the calendar, and so she is credited as the founder
Jarvis worked with church officials at the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton to put together the celebration.
After that, Andrews Church continued to hold Mother’s Day celebrations every year, and when the church eventually moved in 1966, the congregation still continued the tradition at the new church.
The site of the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton is now marked as the International Mother’s Day Shrine and is considered the birthplace of Mother’s Day. According to the shrine’s website, the landmark is no longer associated with any religion and instead, is a symbol of appreciation for mothers everywhere.”
Today, over a century later, Mother’s Day is an international phenomenon. The blog Every Mother Counts charted how mothers are celebrated worldwide. “In Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestinian Territories, Syria, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen, Mother’s day falls on the first day of spring — March 21 and it’s history is based on efforts made in the 1950s by an Egyptian journalist to designate a day in appreciation of mothers.
In Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Belize, Mother’s Day is celebrated on May 10th. If it falls on a weekday, moms stay home from work and children stay home from school.
Many countries celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May (May 11th this year) including the U.S., Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Ecuador, most of Europe, Grenada, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Jamaica, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe and many others. Some of these countries also honor mothers on International Women’s Day or originally celebrated mothers on a different day of the year, but then merged their celebration to coincide with the US date.
In Algeria, the Dominican Republic, France, Haiti, Mauritius, Morocco, Sweden, and Tunisia, Mother’s Day falls on the last Sunday in May. In Kenya it falls on June 29th.
In Spain and Portugal, Mother’s Day is celebrated on December 8, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and mothers are honored along with the Virgin Mary.
In Indonesia, it’s a December holiday (the 22nd) that began as a celebration of the anniversary of the first Women’s Congress in 1928. In addition to celebrating mothers, it’s also a popular day for rallies and political demonstrations in support of women.”
The site of the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton is now home to the International Mother’s Day Shrine and is considered the birthplace of Mother’s Day.