Anna Jarvis, founder of Mother's Day, wanted a day to honor the best mother ever, her own. But it led to protests, arrests and even a tussle with Elenor Roosevelt.

The average shopper spent $196 per mom last year for Mother's Day. That's not the spirit, the day's founder, had hoped for.

Anna Jarvis is credited with starting the tradition of honoring moms in 1905, after the death of her own mother Ann, on May 9, 1905. Anna's mother had always hoped there would be a day that honored moms across the nation, but it did't happen during her time on Earth.

According to, the day to give mothers special recognition, started off in Anna's hometown of Grafton, West Virginia, which takes credit for hosting the first official Mother’s Day celebration three years later at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church. Since then, the church has been dubbed the 'International Mother’s Day Shrine.'

In 1904, President Woodrow Wilson made Mother's Day a national holiday.

Once it became a national holiday, the spirit with which the day was created began to tarnish. It was meant, according to Anna Jarvis, to be a day to your the best mother ever, which would be YOURS. But the holiday soon became about all the mother-like figures in our lives and that didn't sit well with Anna. It was becoming so commercialized, with all the grand flower purchases and extravagant cards and displays.

She was so disturbed by the marketing actions of florists, that she began to protest. Some of those protests led to arrests for public disturbances. Anna jarvis even went after first lady Eleanor Roosevelt for using Mother’s Day to promote the health and welfare of women and children.

Anna Jarvis died in a sanitarium in 1948, but Mother's Day lives on. In a ways she never wanted.

  • Mothers day is the biggest flower and plant buying holiday behind Christmas
  • $25 billion is spent on Mother's Day
  • $5.2 billion is spent on Mother's Day jewelry

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