May is a wonderful month because not only do we get beautiful weather, but we get two important holidays to observe. Mother’s Day always falls on the second Sunday of the month, and Memorial Day is always observed on the last Monday in May. Today we look into the history of both holidays.
Mother’s Day is a holiday that honors mothers and motherhood. It is celebrated throughout the world, even though the day on which it falls varies from country to country (it most commonly falls in March or May). In America, Mother’s Day can trace its roots back to 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St. Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. Anna wanted to honor her mother who had died a few years prior, and pushed to set aside a day to honor all mothers for the incredible love and sacrifices they make for their families. After multiple proposals, Mother’s Day was first accepted as a local holiday of her hometown of Grafton in 1910. Just four years later, in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother’s Day as a national holiday to honor mothers.
Today, Mother’s Day is one of the biggest holidays for consumer spending, and the third biggest holiday of the year for sending cards. Families often celebrate by gifting mothers with flowers, greeting cards, and may take her out for a Mother’s Day brunch or other buffet-style meal at a restaurant.
Memorial Day is a bit more somber than Mother’s Day. Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the U.S. designated for remembering those who died while serving their country in the armed forces. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War. Americans started a tradition in the late 1860s of holding tributes in the spring for fallen soldiers. People in various towns and cities would decorate the graves of fallen soldiers and recite prayers. Until World War I, Northerners and Southerners observed Decoration Day on separate days. Decoration Day eventually evolved to be called Memorial Day, and was observed on May 30th. Memorial Day became an official federal holiday in 1971 and was changed to fall on the last Monday of the month to give workers a three-day weekend.
Today, Memorial Day is still observed with the same purpose of honoring our fallen soldiers. It also usually marks the start of summer vacation season, and is often punctuated with family barbecues. In order to keep the day from becoming just about cookouts, Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance Act in 2000 asking people on Memorial Day to pause and remember at 3:00 pm those who died while serving our country.
From all of us here at Adams Collision Service, we wish you a safe and heartfelt Mother’s Day and Memorial Day, and an all-around wonderful May!