10 Things You Might Not Know About Mother's Day
Everyone knows Mother's Day is the day to shower your mom with affection (and maybe take her out for a nice meal). But just how many people plan to do that each year? Here are a few facts and stats about Mother's Day that might surprise you.
1. The day was first suggested by a famous poet.
The woman who first proposed Mother's Day in 1870 was the same woman who wrote the lyrics to "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." After the Civil War, writer Julia Ward Howe suggested a Mother's Day to recognize peace and protest war. She organized annual events in Boston to honor mothers, but despite her work (and her moving "Mother's Day Proclamation"), nothing official came of her efforts.
2. The founder fought back.
Although Julia Ward Howe first suggested a day for mothers, Anna Jarvis (who had no children of her own) campaigned for a national day of observance for moms, in remembrance of her own mother, Ann Jarvis, who had spent years working to provide resources for poor mothers in West Virginia. Mother's Day became a designated holiday in 1914, but within a few years, Jarvis became disgusted with how commercial the day had become and started a petition to rescind the holiday. (That clearly didn't come to pass.)
3. It's an active day on the phone lines.
Call volume in the U.S. goes up 11 percent on Mother’s Day, and one study suggests that the more widespread use of cell phones has greatly increased the amount of contact adult children have with their mothers. So don't look like a slacker: Your mom definitely expects to hear from you, and not just with a text.
4. It's the busiest day of the year in the restaurant industry.
If you're thinking about taking your mom out to eat, you might want to consider which time of the day will have enough open tables. Mother's Day is the busiest day of the year for restaurants, with some 80 million adults dining out (which tops even Valentine's Day). Nearly half of those people will be out for dinner, as opposed to lunch or brunch, so if you'd like to treat your mom to her favorite cuisine, perhaps go earlier in the day.
5. The jewelry and spa services industries get boosts too.
You know you need to get your mom a gift, but what to buy? According to the National Retail Federation, over $5 billion will be spent on jewelry this year (accounting for 35 percent of shoppers). Another 38 percent of consumers will purchase clothing, 15 percent get electronics, and 24 percent will spend $2 billion on personal services (like spa treatments) for their mothers. But if you want to let mom pick out her own gift, you aren't alone—45 percent of surveyed consumers said they planned to go the gift card route.
6. The flower industry is the big winner.
Carnations quickly became the symbol of Mother’s Day (supposedly representing the tears of Mary when Jesus was crucified) when it began in 1914, and soon the floral industry promoted the idea of wearing a red carnation to honor a person's living mom or a white carnation to honor a mother who had passed. Although this tradition has faded, 76 percent of moms are still hope to get flowers from their kids or loved ones on this special day. Their odds are good—Mother's Day is the number one day for floral sales, and the NRF's survey revealed that a whopping 67 percent of people were planning to buy flowers this year.
7. Moms around the world are recognized with days throughout the year.
Many countries have a Mother’s Day, though they don't always fall on the second Sunday in May like it does in the U.S., Australia, China, Japan, and India. Flowers and gifts are a worldwide tradition for the day, but in Thailand parades are held and jasmine is commonly given as a gift. In Serbia, moms are tied up with rope or ribbon until they give sweets and gifts to their children.
8. Many people honor multiple mothers in their life.
You’re probably planning on sending your own mom a card, but are you going to send cards to other mothers as well? The average consumer buys 2.8 Mother’s Day cards, so most people are buying for more than just their own mom (like, say, for their grandmothers, wives, mothers-in-law, sisters, or friends). In fact, 57 percent of mothers says they’ve received Mother’s Day gifts from non-family members.
9. Statistics show dads need to step it up.
While everyone knows you need to get something for your mother, 47 percent of moms think that dads should buy the mother of their kids a gift. Don’t hold your breath though, moms: Only 6 percent of dads agree!
10. Moms still come out ahead for mother's day.
Even if fathers might not be the ones driving floral sales on Mother's Day, if there were a monetary competition between the parental appreciation days, mothers would win outright. On average, people spend $133 on Father’s Day compared to $196 on Mother’s Day. Sorry, Dad.
This list first ran in 2017 and an updated version was published in 2019.