The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders

You Da Mom: A history of Mothers day in North America

in Beyond Our Walls/News by

On Sunday, May 13, many will start the day making breakfast and arrange bouquets of flowers and gifts for their beloved mothers. This annual holiday has a rich history including various traditions across North America

Mother’s Day was made a national holiday in 1914 by Anna Jarvis, a teacher in West Virginia who thought there should be an official day for celebration between mothers and their families. Jarvis’s version of the day included wearing a white carnation and attending a church service and visiting one’s mother, which is also why it takes place on the second Sunday of May.The date in May was personal to Jarvis, and she chose it to honor her mother’s death with her mother’s favorite flower the carnation found in the spring.

1,697 miles away from Texas, in Canada, Mother’s Day is not an official holiday, although it is usually celebrated in May by most families.  Similar to in the U.S., the holiday is commercialized and families show their mothers they appreciate them by making them cards and buying them flowers.

Mother’s Day in Mexico is slightly different than in the northern states. For starters, it’s always May 10th, which was made a national holiday in 1922 by Marta Acevedo as to reinforce the feminist movement after the Mexican Revolution, focusing on paying tribute and giving respect to moms. El ‘Excélsior,’ a famous newspaper based in Mexico City, organized events that recognized mothers. The events led by ‘Excélsior’ promoted the construction of ‘El Monumento a la Madre,’ the Mother’s monument on May 10, 1949. The plaque beneath the obelisk depicting a mother and child reads “A la que nos amó antes de conocernos. Porque su maternidad fue voluntaria”. Which translates to “Dedicated to the one who loved us before she meets us, because she wanted to be a mother.”

“Himno a las mama’s,” written by first lady Trina de Moya Vásquez, is the national mother’s day song in the Dominican Republic, which takes place the last Sunday of May. It was established in 1926 by first lady, Doña Trina de Moya and Ercilia Pepín teacher and activist, loosely based off of Mother’s Day in the U.S. Red carnations are given to mothers, and a lily or spikenard flower is put out to honor deceased mothers. It is traditional to wear red if your mother is living, or white if not, and it was traditional for relatives to sing to their mothers. Today the holiday is more commercialized, but brings families together and honors mothers.

Anna Jarvis’ idea even made its way to Cuba. In a town meeting in Santiago de las Vegas, Habana, Cuba, the city wanted to have a day to celebrate mothers. It was later made a national holiday in 1928. Journalist Víctor Muñoz wrote about the celebration of the holiday, which made it widely known and celebrated across the country in 1922.

Although Mother’s Day had different beginnings in each country they all had a common theme of honoring, appreciating, and respecting mothers. This May, families will gather around to show these special women exactly how much they mean to them.


“Día de la Madre: ¿Por qué en México se celebra el 10 de mayo?” El Periodico,
    25 Oct. 2017. Accessed 10 Apr. 2018.
“Mothers Day in Canada.” Time and Date, 2018. Accessed 10 Apr. 2018.
Ogletree, Slade. “Mothers Day in Mexico.” Bajainsider, 16 Apr. 2015. Accessed 10
    Apr. 2018.
Staff, History. “Mothers Day 2018.” History, 2011. Accessed 10 Apr. 2018.
Perez, Francia. “Trina de Moya Vasquez.” Serenisima, 11 May 2014. Accessed 16
    Apr. 2018.
Lizardo, Anyl. “República Dominicana Celebra el Dia de Madre.” CNN Espanol, 28
    May 2017. Accessed 16 Apr. 2018.
Villaescusa, Ivette. “Primer Dia de las Madres en Cuba.” Cuba Hora, 5 Nov. 2013.
    Accessed 16 Apr. 2018.

Frida Capitán Parra is a lover of spoons. She is a first-year staff writer on the Polaris Press, and she loves reading and writing, which is the main reason she joined Newspaper. Frida’s biggest secret (don’t tell anyone) is that she raps in her free time, hence her public knack for poetry. Her favorite things include dragons, puns (especially with the word “egg”), acting, playing the guitar, thinking of words that rhyme with the word concussion, and saying, “No please” (which she says approximately 47 times per day). The most common compliment Frida receives is about her cool handwriting. When you first meet Frida, you might be surprised by her quietly hilarious personality and the endearingly unique way she interacts with you. However, the most eggciting thing you will learn about Frida is that she is eggcellent at putting time and eggfort into eggverything she does.

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