Mother's Day is a holiday that recognizes motherhood in general and the positive contributions of mothers to society. In Canada, Mexico, and the United States, Mother's Day falls on the second Sunday of each May. Mother's Day, like Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Father's Day and Hallowe'en, are traditionally observed by Canadians.
Early "Mother's Day" was mostly marked by women's peace groups. A common early activity was the meeting of groups of mothers whose sons had fought or died on opposite sides of the American civil war. In New York City, Julia Ward Howe led a "Mother's Day" anti-war observance in 1872, which was accompanied by a Mother's Day proclamation. The observance continued in Boston for about ten years under Howe's personal sponsorship, then died out.
Several years later, a Mother's Day observance on May 13, 1877 was held in Albion, Michigan, over a dispute related to the temperance movement. The second Sunday of the month. According to local legend, Albion pioneer, Juliet Calhoun Blakeley, stepped up to complete the sermon of the Rev. Myron Daughterty, who was distraught because an anti-temperance group had forced his son and two other temperance advocates to spend the night in a saloon and become publicly drunk.
In the pulpit, Blakeley called on other mothers to join her. Blakeley's two sons, both traveling salesmen, were so moved that they vowed to return each year to pay tribute to her and embarked on a campaign to urge their business contacts to do likewise. At their urging, in the early 1880s, the methodist Episcopal Church in Albion set aside the second Sunday in May to recognize the special contributions of mothers. Frank E. Hering, president of the fraternal order of Eagles, made the first known public plea for "a national day to honor our mothers" in 1904. In its present form, Mother's Day was established by Anna Marie Jarvis, following the death of her mother on May 9, 1905; she campaigned to establish Mother's Day as a U.S. national, and later an international, holiday.