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Mother's Day and Father's Day


MOTHER'S DAY AND FATHER'S DAY are annual observances saluting the contributions of parents in American life. Celebrated on the second Sunday of May, Mother's Day was first observed on 10 May 1908 in Grafton, West Virginia, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was soon celebrated nationwide following a campaign by the activist Anna Jarvis. (Others, including the social reformer Julia Ward Howe, had proposed similar celebrations in the 1800s.) Father's Day originated in Spokane, Washington, in 1910 at the urging of Sonora Louise Smart Dodd, the daughter of a Civil War veteran. It is celebrated on the third Sunday of June. On both days, children may prepare meals or give their parents gifts and greeting cards.


Christianson, Stephen G. The American Book of Days. 4th ed. New York: Wilson, 2000.

Cohen, Hennig, and Tristram Potter Coffin. The Folklore of American Holidays. 2d ed. Detroit: Gale Research, 1991.

Phelan, Mary Kay. Mother's Day. New York: Crowell, 1965. Fine source for younger students.

Ryan F.Holznagel

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