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Mother's Day 2024 in the United States

Mother's Day in the United States celebrates motherhood on the second Sunday of May. A day to honor mothers, grandmothers, mothers-in-law, and all motherly figures.

Mother and daughter cooking a special meal for Mother's Day.

© iStockphoto.com/FG Trade

Many people give gifts, cards, flowers, candy, a meal in a restaurant, or other treats to their mother and mother figures, including grandmothers, great-grandmothers, stepmothers, and foster mothers.

When Is Mother’s Day in the USA?

Mother's Day in the United States is annually held on the second Sunday of May. The same is true for Australia and Canada. However, there still exists confusion about the right date.

Why Is Mother’s Day Celebrated on Different Dates?

Other countries celebrate mothers on different dates: The United Kingdom celebrates Mother’s Day three weeks before Easter Sunday (as “Mothering Sunday”). Costa Rica uses August 15, Georgia celebrates on March 3, Samoa uses the second Monday of May, and Thailand honors mothers on the birthday of the Queen of Thailand on August 12.

Why Is Mother’s Day Celebrated in the United States?

Mother's Day has become a day that focuses on generally recognizing mothers' and mother figures' roles. Mother's Day has also become an increasingly important event for businesses in recent years. This is particularly true of restaurants and companies that manufacture and sell cards and gift items.

The origins of Mother's Day are attributed to different people in the United States. Many believe that two women, Julia Ward Howe and Anna Jarvis, were important in establishing the tradition of Mother's Day in the United States.

Other sources say that Juliet Calhoun Blakely initiated Mother’s Day in Albion, Michigan, in the late 1800s. Her sons paid tribute to her each year, and urged others to honor their mothers.

Gift Cards and Brunches

Traditionally, the holiday is about honoring mothers—by giving flowers, taking Mom out for brunch, or writing something sweet on a Mother’s Day card. But what is the best gift? Typical gift ideas are Mother’s Day flower bouquets with gift cards or greeting cards, maybe with a voucher for a "special day” for Mom or Mother-in-law.

Other Mother's Day gifts are chocolate, candy, clothing, jewelry, and treats, such as a beauty treatment or a trip to a spa. Even gift sets containing some or all of the above are possible.

Some families organize an outing for all of their members or hold a special meal at home or in a restaurant. In the days and weeks before Mother's Day, many schools help their pupils to prepare a handmade card or small gift for their mothers.

Florist’s Tip: Pink and White Carnations

Traditionally, the “Mother’s Day flower” is the white carnation (dianthus caryophyllus). Anna Jarvis, one of the founders of the modern Mother’s Day celebration, chose the white carnation as its official flower because it had been her mother’s favorite.

The white carnation symbolizes the purity of a mother’s love—but be careful with a bouquet of white carnations: Today, they symbolize death and a mother who has passed away. Choose red or pink carnations to honor a living mother, or mix your bouquet.

History of Mother’s Day

Around 1870, Julia Ward Howe called for Mother's Day to be celebrated each year to encourage pacifism and disarmament amongst women. It continued to be observed in Boston for about ten years under her sponsorship, but lost popularity afterward.

In 1907, Anna Jarvis held a private Mother's Day celebration in memory of her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, in Grafton, West Virginia. Ann Jarvis had been a peace activist during the Civil War and organized "Mother's Day Work Clubs" to improve health and cleanliness. Her daughter Anna Jarvis launched a quest for Mother's Day to be more widely recognized. Her campaign was later financially supported by John Wanamaker, a clothing merchant from Philadelphia.

In 1908, Jarvis was instrumental in arranging a service in the Andrew's Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia, which was attended by 407 children and their mothers. The church has now become the International Mother's Day Shrine. It is a tribute to all mothers and has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.

US President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation in 1914 designating Mother's Day as a national holiday to honor mothers, to be held on the second Sunday of May.

Is Mother's Day a Public Holiday?

Mother's Day is not a federal holiday.

Organizations, businesses, and stores are open or closed, just as they are on any other Sunday in the year. Public transit systems run to their normal Sunday schedules. Restaurants may be busier than usual, as some people take their mothers out for a treat.

Legally, Mother's Day is a state holiday in Arizona. However, because it always falls on a Sunday, most state government offices and employees observe their Sunday schedule on the day.

About Mother's Day in Other Countries

Read more about Mother's Day.

Mother's Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2018SunMay 13Mother's DayState HolidayArizona
2018SunMay 13Mother's DayObservance 
2019SunMay 12Mother's DayState HolidayArizona
2019SunMay 12Mother's DayObservance 
2020SunMay 10Mother's DayState HolidayArizona
2020SunMay 10Mother's DayObservance 
2021SunMay 9Mother's DayObservance 
2021SunMay 9Mother's DayState HolidayArizona
2022SunMay 8Mother's DayState HolidayArizona
2022SunMay 8Mother's DayObservance 
2023SunMay 14Mother's DayObservance 
2023SunMay 14Mother's DayState HolidayArizona
2024SunMay 12Mother's DayObservance 
2024SunMay 12Mother's DayState HolidayArizona
2025SunMay 11Mother's DayState HolidayArizona
2025SunMay 11Mother's DayObservance 
2026SunMay 10Mother's DayState HolidayArizona
2026SunMay 10Mother's DayObservance 
2027SunMay 9Mother's DayState HolidayArizona
2027SunMay 9Mother's DayObservance 
2028SunMay 14Mother's DayState HolidayArizona
2028SunMay 14Mother's DayObservance 

While we diligently research and update our holiday dates, some of the information in the table above may be preliminary. If you find an error, please let us know.