Spotlight on...

The true story of Mother's Day

In 1870 American poet and women's leader Julia Ward Howe (pictured top right) called for the establishment of Mother's Day Howe_Julia_Ward squareholiday in the USA. It was a call for women to wage a general strike to end war. 

But she wasn't the first. Even earlier, in 1850, Anna Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia, spent many years mobilising mothers in Mothers' Day Work Clubs to combat the high infant mortality rates caused largely by disease.  Five of her own 9 children died during the Civil War. She wanted recognition for the work of mothers in a memorial mother's day.

Mrs Jarvis' daughter, also Anna, continued the campaign and the first Mother's Day, was held on the 2nd Sunday in May to be close to the date of her mother's death.

More than 150 years later, awareness of these political campaigns has been submerged in the 21st century commercial juggernaut.

Read about Julia Ward Howe and Anna Reeves Jarvis and remember the real origins of Mother's Day.

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