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The Origin of Mother's & Father's Day

By: Fairmont FCU
Published: 05/25/2018
The Origin of Mother's & Father's Day

We have a lot to be proud of in our state of West Virginia. One of our greatest accomplishments in the history of both Taylor and Marion counties, is the origin of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in Grafton and Fairmont respectively. And while Mother’s Day has come and gone this year and Father’s Day will be celebrated soon, we thought taking a quick look at the history of these holidays will give a better appreciation for why we take a day to celebrate our parents.

Mother’s Day Started as a Memorial Service

On the first anniversary of her mother’s death, Miss Anna Jarvis reflected on all of her mother’s accomplishments. Her Mother, Mrs. Anna Reeves Jarvis, focused her efforts heavily on “Mother’s Work” in churches, gave talks on the “Mothers of the Bible,” and held a “Mother’s Friendship Day” service at the end of the Civil War. It was very apparent that Mrs. Anna Reeves Jarvis saw the beauty and importance of motherhood, and her daughter wanted to find a special way to remember her mother. It was decided that they would have a “Mothers’ Day” at the Andrews Church on the second Sunday in May annually.

And Then Turned Into Something More

Word began to spread about the heartfelt and touching ceremony that Miss Anna Jarvis had created in remembrance of her mother. Though she credits her mother as the “real creator” of the holiday through her service in the church, it was Miss Anna Jarvis who had the idea to extend the service from Grafton to the world. She spent many years making contacts with all the right people to make this happen.

Father’s Day Started in a Similar Fashion

In 1908, Grace Golden Clayton was mourning the loss of her own father. He, along with 361 other miners, perished in the Monongah Mining Disaster, the worst coal mining disaster in American history. 250 of those men were fathers, and over a 1,000 children had to grow up without them in their lives. With Mother’s Day celebrated in nearby Grafton, Fairmont hosted the first observance of Father’s Day in July 5, 1908.

The event itself was not widely celebrated outside of the community, it took over 60 years and several attempts from different groups and politicians around North America to be established by law as an official holiday alongside Mother’s Day.

What started as a memory of a strong and passionate woman, or fathers lost to a disaster, has now become a worldwide celebration of mothers and fathers everywhere. All stemming from the love a child for their parents, and from right here in West Virginia. We at Fairmont Federal Credit Union wish you and all the mothers and fathers in your life a happy Mother’s and Father’s Day!


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