Why Do We Celebrate Mother's Day in May? From Civil War to Celebration

In just over two weeks, millions of Australian families will gather across the country to celebrate Mother’s Day with flowers, cards, and gifts. But why do we celebrate Mother’s Day and how did the holiday come about?

Lladró Mare and Foal sculpture is a unique take on the traditional mother and child figurine.

Mother’s Day has surprising origins in the US Civil War. In 1868, Ann Reeves Jarvis, a peace worker who had earlier formed mothering classes in an attempt to lower infant mortality rates in the US, organised a Mother’s Friendship Day in West Virginia to bring together grieving mothers from both sides of the Civil War. Inspired by this, Julia Ward Howe later suggested a Mothers Peace Day to be celebrated each year, saying that mothers have a right to protect their children from preventable wars and conflicts.

Lladró’s Love’s Bond mother figurine is a classic choice for Mother’s Day.

In 1908, the idea of Mother’s Day began to gain traction when Ann Jarvis’ daughter Anna held a memorial service for her mother after her death and began pushing for a day to be set to honour the sacrifices made by all mothers for their children. Anna Jarvis waged a relentless letter-writing campaign to gather support for Mother’s Day, as well as creating the Mother’s Day International Association and trademarking the phrases ‘Mother’s Day’ and ‘Second Sunday in May’. In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson finally declared Mother’s Day an official holiday in the USA, with Canada following in 1915.

Lladró’s Haute Allure Exclusive Model is a perfect celebration of femininity and elegance.

However, it was not until 1924 that the holiday began to gain popularity in Australia. Following Australia’s involvement in World War One, many mothers had lost children and grandchildren, and a whole generation of men had been killed or injured in the war, leaving many women without the prospect of motherhood. Concerned for lonely mothers in care who now had no children to visit, Sydney woman Janet Hayden campaigned for local schools and businesses to donate gifts to the women. The original meaning and mood of the American Mother’s Day fit best with the feelings of Australian mothers after the war, so the US date was adopted in Australia and the holiday became widely celebrated.

Lladró’s Daisy with Flowers bust incorporates both flowers and a gift.

It was also during the 1920s that card companies like Hallmark and florists began marketing gifts as part of the Mother’s Day tradition. The carnation became the official flower of Mother’s Day, as it was Ann Jarvis’ favourite flower and had been used in early celebrations and marketing materials. Today, Australians spend on average around $2 billion on Mother’s Day each year, including around $200 million just on flowers.

Lladró’s Chinese Dragon Vase is perfect to hold all of Mum’s Mother’s Day flowers.

Mother’s Day today continues to be a celebration of the love and dedication of mothers, as well as wives, grandmothers, and other important women in people’s lives. It is also a day to reunite and celebrate with family, something that has become increasingly important to most people after the events of the last two years.

Lladró’s Echoes of Nature Candle in I Love You Mom Scent is an obvious choice. With seven scents to choose from, there is something for everyone.

Lladró creates a broad range of pieces that would make a perfect Mother’s Day gift. From classic figurines to jewellery, to homewares, Lladró has the perfect piece to honour and celebrate every mother and her love. See our Mother’s Day gift guide for more gift ideas.

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