There are several national holidays people mark on their calendars, whether it is to remind them of a celebration or a day off work, but there is one holiday that applies to everyone in the country, but does not always get noticed – Mother’s Day.

A day recognized to tribute mothers was conceived during ancient Roman times when they made their offerings to Cybele, the Great Mother of Gods. Followers of Christianity first celebrated this day on the fourth Sunday in Lent to honor the mother of Christ.

In England, they expanded the holiday to include all mothers and named it Mothering Sunday.

More than 150 years ago a woman named Anna Jarvis organized a day to raise awareness of poor health conditions in her community. While setting up the event, she decided it would be a good idea to target mothers, so she called the day Mother’s Work Day.

In 1905, when Jarvis died, her daughter, Anna, began to lobby prominent businessmen and politicians, including Presidents Taft and Roosevelt, to support her campaign to create a special day to honor mothers, according to

Nine years later Anna’s hard work paid off when President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill recognizing Mother’s Day as a national holiday.

In the early years of celebrating the holiday, most people observed by attending church and writing letters to their mothers.

Eventually, people started mailing cards, sending flowers and buying gifts, which maddened Anna, because the holiday’s meaning became more about spending money and profit rather than her original intent.

In 1923, she filed a lawsuit to stop the observance of Mother’s Day and was arrested for disturbing the peace at a convention selling flowers for the holiday.

Before her death in 1948, Anna is said to have confessed that she regretted ever starting the mother’s day tradition.

Although Anna disapproved the greed spawned by her creation, the second Sunday in May has remained strong, because 96 percent of American consumers continue to purchase gifts for the more than 82.5 million mothers in the country, according to a study conducted by the United States Census Bureau and Hallmark. This year Mother’s Day falls on May 14.

“The fact my mother dedicated her life to raising me and instilling her values in me — the day is definitely important to me,” said Lance Cpl. Matthew P. Anderson of Syracuse, N.Y., fiscal budget technician with 2nd Marine Logistics Group’s comptroller’s office. “I’m proud to help her celebrate the day. I like giving back to her after she’s done so much for me.”

The fact that Mother’s Day is the peak day of the year for long distance phone calls and the busiest day of the year for many restaurants, shows the holiday is still popular and children continue to take the time to honor and to express their appreciation for their mothers, making it the second largest gift-giving holiday next to Christmas, according to

Editors note: Article written in 2006 by Matthew Hacker (a former Marine corporal with 2nd Marine Logistics Group) and reprinted with his permission.

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