Mother's Day occurs annually on the second Sunday in May. Although festivals honoring mothers can be traced back to the Greek celebration honoring Rhea, the Mother of Gods, it was not until the 1870's that the holiday became a possibility in the United States. In 1872, Julia Ward Howe who held Mother's Day meetings in Boston, first suggested the day as one dedicated to peace. Later, Anna Reese Jarvis began efforts for a Mother's Day holiday which would help heal the emotional wounds of families torn by the Civil War. Unfortunately, Mrs. Jarvis died in 1905 before realizing her goal.
Mrs. Jarvis' daughter, also named Anna, then took up the cause in honor of her mother and began a letter writing campaign. In 1908, at a church service honoring her mother, Anna donated 500 white carnations. This soon became a tradition and by 1914, President Woodrow Wilson officially proclaimed a national day honoring mothers. Many people still wear carnations on this Sunday - pink or red for mothers still living and white for mothers who have died.