Brunch and Peace (Rallies): The “Herstory” Behind Mother’s Day

Angelica Cesario | May 13, 2018

Happy Mother’s Day - whether you’re celebrating your mom, grandmother, aunt, neighbor, friend, or are a mom yourself! The day transcends various religions and cultures, and is celebrated widely across the nation. In fact, consumers are expected to spend approximately $23 billion celebrating Mother’s Day this year. Given the widespread nature of the holiday, it’s worth taking a moment to learn more about its origins. We did some digging and came up with these fun facts:

  • In 1872, suffragette Julia Ward Howe first suggested Mother’s Day as a day mothers could unite to rally for peace in the post-Civil War era. For several years thereafter, she held an annual Mother’s Day meeting in Boston.
  • In 1908, Anna Jarvis campaigned for national observance of Mother’s Day, in honor of her late mother Ann Reeves Jarvis (also a peace activist). However, she later became frustrated by the wide commercialization of the day and expressed her regret for starting the day.
  • Mother’s Day was officially recognized by the federal government in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson issued the first Mother’s Day Proclamation, declaring it a “public expression of love and reverence for the mothers of our country."
  • Most people celebrate Mother’s Day by giving their moms flowers (77% of consumers). In fact, according to, Americans spend more on flowers for Mother’s Day than any other holiday! The next gifts in line are cards, jewelry, and brunch/lunch.  
  • According to, the 24-7 work of a mom has a monetary value of nearly $68,000 annually. But really, we all know a mom’s job is priceless!
  • More calls are made on Mother’s Day than any other day of the year. Hi, mom!
  • Mother’s Day is celebrated all over the world, though sometimes on different days. The United Kingdom, Thailand, Costa Rica, Canada, Mexico, and more all have their own Mother’s Day celebrations.

Check out the History Channel or National Geographic for even more on the history of Mother’s Day. And whatever you do, be sure to show your love for the moms in your life today, and every day.

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About the Author

Written by Angelica Cesario

Angelica Cesario is Lawline's Lead Program Attorney. She graduated cum laude from Amherst College in 2008 and holds a B.A. in Women's and Gender Studies and a Certificate in Latino and Latin American Studies. She received her J.D. from Columbia Law School in 2013 and is admitted to practice law in New York and New Jersey. Before joining Lawline, Angelica worked as a plaintiff-side labor & employment litigation attorney. Outside of work, Angelica serves on the Board of Directors of the TEAK Fellowship, a non-profit academic and cultural enrichment program that provides educational access to top NYC students. Angelica is the proud mom of an energetic toddler. During her free time, she enjoys reading, trying new foods, and catching up on her favorite TV shows.


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