Story of Anna Jarvis

Mothers' Day Story

The story of Mothers Day is the story of firm determination of a daughter, Anna Jarvis who resolved to pay tribute to her mother, Mrs Anna M Jarvis and all other mothers of the world. Anna Jarvis dedicated her life to fulfill her mothers dream of the recognition of day for honoring mothers. Though never a mother herself, Founder of Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis is today recognised as the ‘Mother of Mothers Day’. An apt title to define the remarkable woman’s ceaseless devotion to her mother and motherhood in general.

Childhood
Anna Jarvis was born in Webster, Taylor County, West Virginia, on May 1, 1864. She was the ninth of eleven children born to Ann Marie and Granville Jarvis. Her family moved to Grafton when Anna was a year old. It was here that the Anna did her schooling. In 1881, she enrolled at the Augusta Female Academy in Staunton, Virginia, now Mary Baldwin College. After finishing her academics, Anna returned to Grafton and did teaching in a school for seven years.

Inspiration for Mothers Day
Anna Jarvis got the inspiration of celebrating Mothers Day quite early in life. It so happened that one day when Anna was 12 years old, Anna’s mother Mrs Jarvis said a class prayer in the presence of her daughter. To conclude the lesson on ‘Mothers of the Bible’, Mrs Jarvis said a small prayer,

“I hope that someone, sometime will found a memorial mothers day commemorating her for the matchless service she renders to humanity in every field of life. She is entitled to it.”

Anna never forgot this prayer. And at her Mothers graveside service, she recalled the prayer and said, “…by the grace of God, you shall have that Mothers Day.” The words were overheard by her brother Claude.

The Struggle for Mothers Day
After the death of her mother in 1905, Anna Jarvis resolved to honor her mother. She became all the more serious in her resolution when she found that adult children in the US were negligent in their behaviour towards their parents. Besides the desire of her mother that someone would one day pay tribute to all mothers, living and dead and appreciate their contributions made Anna decisions even stronger.

In 1907, Miss Anna began an aggressive campaign to establish a National Mothers Day in US. On the second death anniversary of her mother she led a small tribute to her mother at Andrews Methodist Church. By the next year, Mother’s Day was also celebrated in her own city of Philadelphia.

To give shape to her resolution, Miss Anna Jarvis along with her supporters began to write hundreds of letters to those holding the positions of power advocate the need for a national Mothers Day. A fluent speaker, Anna used every platform to promote her cause. Though the response was cold initially, she achieved a breakthrough by gaining the support of great merchant and philanthropist, John Wanamaker of Philadelphia. The movement gained a fresh impetus with his support. In 1909, forty-five states including Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico observed the day by appropriate services. People also wore white and red carnations to pay tribute to their mothers, according to the tradition started by Anna Jarvis. Anna chose carnations because they were her mother’s favorite flowers. White carnation was her most favorite because it represented the purity of a mother’s heart. A white carnation was to be worn to honor deceased mothers, and a red one to honor a living mother.

By 1911, Mother’s Day was celebrated in almost every state of the Union. And in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson made the official announcement proclaiming Mother’s Day as a national holiday that was to be held each year on the second Sunday of May.

 

http://www.mothersdaycelebration.com/story-of-anna-jarvis.html

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