The Origin of Mother’s Day

You’d be forgiven for thinking Mother’s Day is as old as other popular holidays, but its origins aren’t as far in the past as one might think.

Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia is recognized as the creator of Mother’s Day, when she held a memorial for her mother, Anne Jarvis, in 1907. Anna Jarvis had begun lobbying for a national Mother’s Day since 1905, but it was her mother who had started the movement nearly 40 years earlier.

Anna Jarvis - Getty Images
Anna Jarvis – Getty Images

Anne Jarvis was a peace activist who had cared for both Union and Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War. She also established “Mother’s Work Day Clubs” to help teach local women about childcare, and along with fellow peace activist and suffragette Julia Howe and supported by other anti-war activists, the two women pushed for a nationally recognized day that would promote peace in the aftermath of the Civil War in America and Franco-Prussian War in Europe. Howe made her “Mother’s Day Proclamation” in 1870, which asked mothers to work together towards “amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.”

Julia Howe Getty Images
Julia Howe – Getty Images

Thousands of people attended Anna Jarvis’ commemoration for her mother, and many states and towns had begun celebrating the day by 1912. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson officially established the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. Anna also inadvertently established white carnations as the official flower of Mother’s Day when she sent 500 of them to Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in memory of her mother on the first official Mother’s Day.

White Carnations flowers Photo by Silvia Rossana Garavaglia on Unsplash
White Carnations

Flowers, chocolates, and of course, jewelry, are the most common gifts for Mother’s Day – but the best gifts have some meaning behind them. If you’re still looking for the perfect gift, something beautiful and thoughtful, like birthstone jewelry, goes a long way. Here are some of our suggestions and wishlist items from Blue Nile, but we’re sure mom, grandma, or whoever your chosen mother-figure is, will love whatever you give them.

14k gold diamond floral leaf ring
14k Diamond Foliage Ring


14k gold diamond bolo bracelet
14k Diamond Bolo Bracelet


14k Rose Gold Morganite Diamond Ring
14k Rose Gold Morganite Diamond Ring
18k gold Emerald and Diamond stud Earrings
18k Emerald and Diamond Earrings
14k gold pearl bracelet
14k Cultured Pearl Bracelet



18k gold Aquamarine and Diamond Ring
18k Aquamarine and Diamond Ring


This post is sponsored by Blue Nile.

Shop Blue Nile’s Mother’s Day Sale – Up to 50% off and free shipping on Mother’s Day delivery for purchases on or before May 7.

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