Today is Mother’s Day, a secular holiday that recognizes motherhood in general and the positive contributions of mothers to society. In Canada, Mexico, Brazil and the United States, Mother’s Day always falls on the second Sunday of each May.
The modern Mother’s Day holiday was created by Anna Jarvis as a day for each family to honor its mother, and it’s now celebrated on various days in many places around the world. It complements Father’s Day, the celebration honoring fathers. This holiday is relatively modern, being created at the start of the 20th century.
In most countries, the Mother’s Day celebration is a recent holiday derived from the original US celebration.
Different countries celebrate Mother’s Day on various days of the year because the day has a number of different origins.
In 1912, Anna Jarvis trademarked the phrases “second Sunday in May” and “Mother’s Day,” and created the Mother’s Day International Association.
She was specific about the location of the apostrophe; it was to be a singular possessive, for each family to honour their mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world.
This is also the spelling used by President Woodrow Wilson in the law making official the holiday in the U.S., by the U.S. Congress on bills, and by other U.S. presidents on their declarations.
Common usage in English language also dictates that the ostensibly singular possessive “Mother’s Day” is the preferred spelling, although “Mothers’ Day” (plural possessive) is not unheard of.