the fourth Sunday in October (since 1975)
National Mothers-In-Law Day Council in 1975
Florists' Transworld Delivery in 1977
Society of American Florists in 1977
There's a common assumption that mothers-in-law are unappreciated, joked about, and generally maligned. That might not necessarily be the case. Still, most of the time they don't get honored as they deserve. Mother-In-Law Day rectifies this, and honors mothers-in-law "for their contributions to the success of families and for their good humor in enduring bad jokes."
Holidays honoring mothers-in-law have been around since at least the early 1920s, having been held on various dates and backed by a number of groups. Some of the holidays were called Mother-In-Law Day, while others went by Mothers-In-Law Day or other names. It wasn't until the mid-1970s that Mother-In-Law Day was anchored on the fourth Sunday in October. Newspaper records from the time point to three entities being behind the day's establishment.
In 1975, the National Mothers-In-Law Day Council set a day honoring mothers-in-law on the last Sunday of October. In 1977, two floral organizations became involved in the day, the Society of American Florists and Florists' Transworld Delivery (FTD). One newspaper article from the year describes the holiday as the "brainchild" of the Society of American Florists, and says they were "plugging the idea in a flurry of recent U.S. television commercials." Other newspaper articles from the year point to the FTD as having a more foundational role in the holiday's beginning, saying they lobbied Congress in hopes that a bill would be introduced that would officially designate a holiday honoring mothers-in-law on the last Sunday of October. Although it started in 1975, the October Mother-In-Law Day began in earnest in 1977, and has continued to honor mothers-in-law since!
How to Observe Mother-In-Law Day
Celebrate your mother-in-law! Thank her for all her help and support, tell her you love her, and give her a gift or have her over for dinner. If you are someone's mother-in-law, make sure to let them know about the holiday! If your mother-in-law has already passed away, honor them today, and visit their grave if you are able to.