Why do we celebrate Mother’s Day? Thank this Philadelphia woman.


While thanking the important women in your life Sunday, there’s one more person to add to your list. Luckily, she’s local.

Anna Jarvis, a Philadelphia transplant, is often credited with creating Mother’s Day, a national celebration meant to recognize all the hard work that mothers do. The first Mother’s Day was observed in 1908, and it was given federal recognition in 1914.

“The purpose of Mother’s Day,” Jarvis told The Inquirer in May 1913, “is to make men and women realize their individual responsibility to right the wrongs of motherhood and childhood, not only in the home but also in the industrial world, and in the name of ‘mother’ to inspire men to carry forward the work for the home, which would mean not only its uplift, but would deepen their brotherhood toward each other.”

Jarvis rallied around the day in memory of her own mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, who organized mothers clubs and led a Mothers’ Friendship Day before she died on May 9, 1905, according to Inquirer archives.

The two shared a close relationship — a friend said that they cared for each other “with a love which was more than love,” according to a 1987 Inquirer story. Carnations became a symbol for the day because it was her mother’s favorite flower.

The first Mother’s Day happened on May 10, 1908, with events in West Virginia and the Wanamaker department store on Market Street, according to archives. Jarvis later launched a letter-writing campaign to spread the recognition.

by Patricia Madej - The Philadelphia Inquirer





Do some last-minute Mother’s Day shopping on Saturday, or bring her with you to a pop-up market full of treats, trinkets and beautiful blooms.

  • The Blooms, Booze & Bling market outside Art in the Age features bouquets from The Flower Shop, items from Sisterfriend Jewelry and beautifully bottled cocktails from the host store.

  • The Sisterly Love Food Fair returns to East Market with packaged treats and crafts from women-owned businesses in Philadelphia.


East Passyunk Avenue buzzes with Mother’s Day activities on Sunday as part of its Garden Days programming. Catch a flower-themed performance by Society Hill Dance Academy (keep an eye out for cocktail mixer giveaways) and take in a pop-up show by the East Passyunk Opera Project at The Singing Fountain. Plus, stroll the avenue for charming gifts and special restaurant menus in honor of moms.

  • Colebrookdale Railroad offers tea (Saturday – Sunday) or dinner service (Friday – Sunday), which includes a complimentary beverage, hors d’oeuvre plate and dessert during a ride through the Secret Valley Heritage Area.

  • Breakfast on the New Hope Railroad (Saturday – Sunday) starts with a meal at the 19th-century station before a scenic ride through Bucks County.

  • Sesame Place presents each mom with a rose during its special Mother’s Day character buffet (Saturday – Sunday).

  • Moms get reduced fare on the West Chester Railroad (Sunday), which stops for a brief layover in Glen Mills.



Spend Mother’s Day in the heart of Philadelphia with reservations at one of Center City’s top spots:

  • Brunch at Talula’s Garden features spring cheeses, an asparagus and ham benedict, lemon pudding cake and more.

  • Steak 48 opens early to serve lunch and dinner menu items like corn crème brulee, mac & cheese, Kennett mushrooms and, of course, steaks.

  • Chopped champion Gregory Headen cooks up a special brunch at Jet Wine Bar. Look for funnel cake, french toast, burgers and craft cocktails.

  • French toast made with churro batter and served with caramelized plantains is on the menu at Revolution Taco, where Mother’s Day guests get a sneak preview of the forthcoming brunch menu.

  • The three-course brunch menu at Square 1682 comes with a bottle of champagne and mom’s choice of juice, plus avocado toast, blueberry ricotta pancakes and more.

  • Twisted Tail leans into its comfort food reputation with a three-course family-style meal of crab cake benedict, ricotta beignets and more treats.

  • Mezcal and tacos top the Mexican brunch menu at Tio Flores on South Street.