Miss Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother’s day, for the first time, sent 500 white carnations to the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church, in Grafton, West Virginia. She wanted the flowers to be distributed among the mothers. Then onwards, it has become a tradition to gift flowers on the Mother’s Day as a token of thanks for all her love and care.
The white carnation is preferred because it may be thought to typify some of the virtues of motherhood; … whiteness stands for purity; its lasting qualities, faithfulness; its fragrance, love; its wide field of growth, charity; its form, beauty…, Miss Jarvis said.
As the tradition of gifting flowers on Mother’s day continued, carnations continued to dominate the list of flowers bought for gifting on Mother’s day. Besides gifting carnations, they were also worn, and different colors of carnations worn implied different meanings. For instance, wearing a white carnation is to honor a deceased mother, wearing a pink carnation is to honor a living mother.
It is indeed the meanings of flowers rather than their popularity matters when it comes to gifting flowers. For that reason, carnations are the preferred flower gifts on Mother’s day. Further carnations in different colors carry different meanings. It is thus advised that you are aware of the meanings of flowers before you choose a flower gift for your mother. Also learn about making a Mother’s day carnation bouquets by yourself.
Some Interesting Facts About Carnations & Mother’s Day
- Anna Jarvis used carnations at the first Mother’s Day celebration, because carnations were her mother’s favorite flowers.
- Anna Jarvis and the florist industry ended up disagreeing over the selling of flowers for Mother’s Day.
- In the 1930s, when the U.S. Postal Service announced a Mother’s Day stamp with the image of Whistler’s Mother and a vase of white carnations, Anna Jarvis responded by campaigning against the stamp. She persuaded President Roosevelt to remove the words, Mother’s Day, but not the white carnations.
- Carnations have become such a familiar part of Mother’s Day observance that they are said to be an emblem of mother love. May be, at first carnations were not exactly picked up on an emblematic sense. But they were immediately accepted as appropriate for the occasion. It was the inherent quality of sweetness, purity and endurance that made the carnations so popular on Mother’s Day.
- Later, white carnations, with their sweet fragrance, came to be regarded as the flowers meant for those who have missed their mothers. Missed, either because of death, or, because of staying at a distance. And it was the red/pink carnations which in course of time became the symbol while wishing a living mother love.
- In Japan also, where Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May as "haha no hi", it is customary to give red carnations to mothers.
Care for Mother’s Day Carnations
It is for the mothers to follow the following tips so that the carnation flowers gifted by their beloved children last long-
1. Recut the stems and remove leaves that will be in the water (below the solution level).
2. Put the carnation flowers in a vase of clean water and floral preservative.
3. Keep a neutral environment avoiding extreme temperatures.
Jarvis became bitter over the commercialization of Mother’s Day. She filed a lawsuit to stop a 1923 Mother’s Day event and was even arrested for disturbing the peace at a mother’s convention where white carnations were being sold.