When is Mother's Day in the US? Everything you need to know and how to celebrate

Telegraph Reporters
Mother's Day 2016 in on Sunday May 8 this year

When is Mother's Day in the United States?

Mother's Day in the United States - or Mom's Day as it's sometimes written - is an annual holiday celebrated on the second Sunday of May. 

This year it falls on Sunday, May 14. 

The day recognizes mothers, motherhood and maternal bonds in general, as well as the positive contributions that they make to society in raising children.

How did Mother's Day start in America?

It was American social activist Anna Jarvis (1864-1948) from West Virginia who campaigned for an official day for mothers in the US.

She is regarded as the "Mother of Mother's Day" and dedicated her life to lobbying for the holiday. She vowed to do so after her mother's death. 

Ann Jarvis, who died in 1904, was a peace activist during the American Civil War and cared for soldiers from both sides of the conflict.

Anna Jarvis founded the Mother's Day holiday in the United States

She also set up Mother’s Day Work Clubs to address public health issues. It was this work that her daughter Anna wanted to continue by starting a day especially for mothers.

Jarvis had to fight hard to be heard because during the 1900's women's rights had not yet progressed enough for her to be taken seriously. She found it difficult to gain support in a male-dominated society.

But a breakthrough came on May 8, 1908 when she helped arrange the first ever Mother's Day service at Andrew's Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia, which was attended by 407 children and their mothers.

Mothers Day: the best bouquets to buy

The church is now known as the International Mother’s Day Shrine and has been designated a historic landmark.

She continued to campaign for the day to be recognized nationally, and after appealing directly to the President of the United States, President Woodrow Wilson made the day official in 1914 and the holiday took off.

As the years passed, it became increasingly commercial and industry saw it as a way to make money from the public. Jarvis became concerned at this, saying "I wanted it to be a day of sentiment, not profit."

She also didn't like the selling of flowers and the use of greetings cards which she described as "a poor excuse for a letter you are too lazy to write". She even organised boycotts of Mother's Day and threatened lawsuits against companies involved. 

Mother's Day is on a different day in Britain

In Britain, the day is known as Mothering Sunday, and always falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent - usually in late March or early April.

A 1913 newspaper report of Jarvis' campaign inspired Briton Constance Smith to push for the day to be officially marked in England.

Vicar's daughter Smith, of Coddington, Nottinghamshire, founded the Mothering Sunday Movement and even wrote a booklet The Revival of Mothering Sunday in 1920.

Interestingly, neither Smith nor Jarvis became mother’s themselves.

Here's some British celebrities on how their mothers showed them love.

A trader adjusts his stall at London's Covent Garden Flower Market Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Mother's Day around the world

As the years passed, Jarvis's Mother's Day was adopted in countries all over the world, including Canada, Australia, Germany and Japan. 

In many countries, including the US and Australia, it's custom to wear a carnation. A colored carnation signifies that a person's mother is living while a white carnation is used to honor a deceased mother.

In India, the celebrating mothers on the second Sunday in May is slowly catching on during the last 10 years.

Meanwhile, in South Africa families use the day to thank not just mothers but also grandmothers and women who are like mothers.

Many other nations also celebrate mothers, but at different times of the year.

In Norway, Mother's Day is always on the second Sunday of February, while in Thailand it's on August 12 - the same day as the Queen of Thailand's birthday.

Carnations are a symbol of Mother's Day in some countries

How should I celebrate Mother's Day?

Mother's Day is a big deal commercially in the US, and is considered the next big day after Christmas and Valentine's Day.

Traditions include giving flowers and cards - but hopefully not one of these awful ones.

Children also like to make their mother's breakfast in bed, or treat them to a meal or gift. 

If you fancy staying in this year, why not watch one of these mother-themed films right here.

And if you're still stuck for ideas, Twitter is ablaze with random suggestions.

mothers day bad cards


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