The History & Symbolism of Mother's Day Flowers

by Details Flowers ● 3 May ● Just For Fun

The history of Mother's Day stretches back over 100 years and started right here in the United States with one woman (who actually never became a mother herself!) buying her late mother's favorite flowers as a tribute to her impact on their community. The meaning of Mother's Day and the traditions that surround it are, at the core, all about flowers.

The Origin of Mother's Day


On May 10th, 1908, Anna Jarvis delivered five hundred white carnations to Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia for a memorial service. Her mother had taught Sunday school there for decades and the massive order of her mother’s favorite flower was delivered to the church as a tribute to her and mothers everywhere.

Later that afternoon, over 15,000 people attended a Mother’s Day service at an auditorium in Philadelphia, which Jarvis also organized in an effort to establish the first official day honoring moms everywhere - and Mother’s Day was born!

Six years later in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson adopted the second Sunday in May as the official holiday to celebrate our mothers. In the century since, the tradition of Mother’s Day has been largely driven by the floral and greeting card industries and is now a hugely successful day for both.

Symbolism of Carnations


Without florists delivering carnations every second Sunday in May, the holiday may have slipped into obscurity. Instead, millions of flowers are purchased for mothers every year making it one of the biggest days for sales of flowers in the year! Of course, giving mom red carnations (the official flower of Mother's Day) or a beautiful bouquet with carnations mixed in is always a wonderful idea for mom. 

Did you know the color of carnations is symbolic? Here are just a few!
  • Red carnations are shared to signify respect and sincere love for all the mothers we're fortunate enough to have in our lives.
  • White carnations are displayed in honor of the mothers who have passed and are no longer with us.
  • Pink carnations symbolize a mother's love and are a sign of appreciation.
  • Purple carnations are best for the adventurous, impulsive mom. Give her these to celebrate her spontaneous next escapade.
  • Yellow carnations are absolutely beautiful but do not have the happiest meaning. They symbolize disappointment and rejection, which makes them really beautiful gift for mom if you need to mend your relationship and say sorry.

The entire Details Flowers family is wishing our mothers, and mothers everywhere a very happy Mother's Day. We hope you're able to give your mom a hug or, at least, share some flowers! Happy Mother's Day!

Support Your Local Florists!

Below are some social media images we have created for you to use to show your support for small businesses in your area. Just right-click and save to your desktop for easy sharing. Don't forget to buy flowers from a local florist for the mom in your life and brighten her day!





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