Mother’s Day: How It All Began

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(CNN) — Here’s a look at what you need to know about Mother’s Day, which is always celebrated on the second Sunday in May.

In 2014, the holiday will be celebrated on May 11th.


    • There were an estimated 85.4 million mothers in the U.S. in 2009.


    • Initially, people observed Mother’s Day by attending church and writing letters to their mothers. Eventually, sending cards and giving presents and flowers became part of the tradition.


    • 141 million Mother’s Day cards are exchanged annually in the United States.


    • Consumers purchase an average of 2.8 Mother’s Day cards.


    • Approximately 65% of card sales occur five days prior to Mother’s Day.


    • More people purchase fresh flowers and plants for Mother’s Day than for any other holiday except Christmas/Hanukkah. Mother’s Day accounts for one-fourth of all holiday sales of flowers and plants.


    • In 2013, the National Retail Federation estimated that U.S. consumers would spend more than $20 billion celebrating Mother’s Day.


    • According to the 2013 Mother’s Day Index, various tasks Moms perform at home would be worth $59,862 (down from $60,182 in 2012) a year in the professional world.


    • Anna Jarvis started the tradition of wearing a carnation on Mother’s Day. A colored carnation means that a person’s mother is living. A white carnation indicates that a person’s mother is dead.



    • 1872 – Julia Ward Howe, who is a pacifist, suffragette, and writer of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” first suggests Mother’s Day in the United States. She suggests the day as a day mothers could rally for peace and for several years, she holds an annual Mother’s Day meeting in Boston.


    • 1908 – Anna Jarvis begins a campaign for a nationwide observance of Mother’s Day in honor of her late mother, a community health advocate. Anna Jarvis was deeply dismayed over the commercialization of Mother’s Day. Before she died in 1948, she admitted that she regretted ever starting the holiday.


    • May 9, 1914 – President Woodrow Wilson signs a bill recognizing Mother’s Day as a national holiday.