News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in Castine Patriot, May 11, 2017
Mother’s Day in 103rd year as national holiday

Carnations for Mother’s Day

Mother's Day is Sunday, May 14. While flowers, like carnations (pictured), are a popular Mother’s Day gift, dining out and jewelry round out the top three items bought for Mother’s Day, according to consumer data collected by the National Federation of Retailers.

Photo by Anne Berleant Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Anne Berleant

Officially established in 1914 after its founder, Anna Jarvis, reportedly wrote thousands of letters to politicians, President Roosevelt and other prominent figures, Mother’s Day continues its tradition of honoring mothers in America on Sunday, May 14.

Jarvis deemed the carnation as the traditional Mother’s Day flower. In modern times, wearing a white carnation denotes a mother who has died while colored carnations are for mothers still alive.

While flowers are a popular Mother’s Day gift, dining out and jewelry round out the top three items bought for Mother’s Day, according to consumer data collected by the National Federation of Retailers, with a record $23.6 billion in purchases expected to be reached this year.

At Fairwinds Florist in Blue Hill, the week of Mother’s Day is the biggest of the year, selling twice as many flowers as on Valentine’s Day, said owner Cullen Schneider.

“Not everyone has a lover but everyone has a mother,” noted Schneider.

Jarvis, after successfully establishing Mother’s Day, reportedly spent the next two decades fighting against its growing commercialism, incorporating herself as the Mother’s Day International Association in an attempt to control the holiday, and starting numerous lawsuits. She died childless and broke in a Philadelphia sanitarium in 1948.

Since 1935, Mother’s Day has been officially sponsored by the nonprofit organization American Mothers, while in 1933, the Father’s Day/Mother’s Day Council formed as a volunteer organization to promote the celebration, observation and preservation of the two holidays.