OK, so we just passed Mothers' Day and I was curious as to why the card manufacturers all seem to think that the holiday is about one mother, i.e., mother's day vs. all mothers, mothers' day?

  • 2
    Maybe they think of each person dedicating the day to his own mother. Let's take Mother out for brunch; after all, this is Mother's day.
    – Chaim
    May 18, 2017 at 17:29
  • Not everyone writes it as Mother's Day -- for some, it is (correctly) Mothers' Day May 18, 2017 at 21:16
  • And I always thought it was 'Mothering Sunday'. There, that solves the problem!
    – Tim
    Jun 19, 2017 at 13:07

3 Answers 3


Mother's Day began in 1908 and was promoted by a women's organizer named Anna Jarvis. It was founded in large part as a day for women to mourn those who had died in war and to work for peace.

See explanation of its naming below from a National Geographic online article.

"For Jarvis it was a day where you'd go home to spend time with your mother and thank her for all that she did," West Virginia Wesleyan's Antolini, who wrote "Memorializing Motherhood: Anna Jarvis and the Defense of Her Mother's Day" as her Ph.D. dissertation, said in a previous interview.

"It wasn't to celebrate all mothers. It was to celebrate the best mother you've ever known—your mother—as a son or a daughter." That's why Jarvis stressed the singular "Mother's Day," rather than the plural "Mothers' Day," Antolini explained.


Regardless of the original intention of the creator and founder of Mother's/Mothers/Mothers'Day, the punctuation presently varies in use.

[I, personally, prefer the apostrophe after the "s", as I tend to celebrate all mothers and motherhood and nurturers of any gender on this day, whether or not they have birth- or adopted children, keeping in mind that some people have had more than one nurturer, eg, mother and step-mother, 2 adoptive mothers.]

Source: http://www.betterwritingskills.com/tip-w011.html

Example of use: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10212571484543508&set=a.1424886743602.2059916.1275766962&type=3&theater

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