While the veneration of mothers is as old as motherhood, the modern Mother’s Day was first declared a national holiday in the United States in 1914. In the past century, the celebration has spread to more than 46 countries across the globe.
Most mark Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May — the original date set out by Mother’s Day founder, Anna Jarvis — others celebrate motherhood on the spring equinox (March 21) or International Women’s Day (March 8), among several other dates scattered throughout the year.
To this day, Mother’s Day generates some of the highest annual numbers for card and flower sales (and phone calls placed) in the United States.
Founder Anna Jarvis, a college-educated literary and advertising editor, was herself never a mother. But she credits her own, Ann Reeves Jarvis, for encouraging her to pursue an education and for giving her the idea the holiday. The first-ever celebration was held on May 10, 1908 in Grafton, West Virginia at the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church, now known as the “International Mother’s Day Shrine.”
Though she was wildly successful in popularizing the holiday, Jarvis eventually soured on what she saw as its commercialization. In a May 1935 letter to Time magazine, Jarvis wrote, “A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother — and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.” Jarvis’s idea endured beyond, and even despite, her best intentions: moms are just that popular.
In the spirit of Jarvis’s full-throated commitment to mom appreciation (and with a nod to modern day tastes), we propose taking Mom out for the perfect Mother’s Day activity: brunch. You'll spend quality time, together, and treat her to something delicious. There's even enough candy (or mimosas) for everyone at the table.
We found our favorite spots for midday meals across the world, in case you want to take your mom out near home, or venture somewhere a little farther. Either way, she’s worth it.