As we celebrate Mother's Day's centennial anniversary Sunday, it's a day now known mostly for lavish brunches, gifts, cards, and general outpourings of love and appreciation for all mothers.
Mother's Day traditionally has a dark history and somber roots, though. It's been 100 years since President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Mother's Day a national holiday in 1914, but the holiday's history traces back even further.
West Virginia native Anna Jarvis was the motivating force behind the inaugural Mother's Day observances in 1908 after her own mother had passed away in 1905. But to Jarvis, "Mother's Day," with an apostrophe, implied a day for each person to honor and celebrate their own mother.
The holiday was not intended to celebrate all mothers. It was originally meant to celebrate the best mother you've ever known – your mother, National Geographic News reports. The holiday was to be a private family occasion.
When the Mother's Day eventually turned into a commercial gold mine centered around buying gifts, cards and flowers, its greatest supporter, Anna Jarvis, spent her entire inheritance and the majority of her later years fighting what the holiday had become.
Jarvis, who easily could have profited off of the holiday, died penniless and broken in a sanitarium in Philadelphia at age 84, according to National Geographic News.
Americans will spend an average of $162 on their mom this year, which is down from a survey high of $168 in 2013. Total spending this year is expected to reach $19.9 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.
While some things about Mother's Day will never change – it annually falls on the second Sunday in May– the holiday, like many other holidays, has greatly transformed over the years.
Sunday, during the 100th anniversary of Mother's Day, think about its reverent roots and the original intentions behind the holiday -- celebrating and remembering your own mother.
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