i was writing my moms a mother’s day card (using a cæesar cipher and invisible ink) when i got to wondering how mother’s day is supposed to be punctuated. is it:
- mother’s day (singular possessive)—a day that belongs to each mother
- mothers’ day (plural possessive)—a day that belongs to all mothers
- mothers day (plural attributive)—a day for all of us to honour mothers
it turns out that anna jarvis, the populariser of mother’s day was pretty specific with her apostrophe intentions, she stated:
it was to be a singular possessive, for each family to honour their mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world
so that settles that. but what about other u.s. holidays—do they all get the same treatment? it turns out that they don’t and like other aspects of government, the spelling of holidays is fraught with inconsistency. therefore i made us this handy crib sheet so we won’t embarrass ourselves when writing future columbus day and st. patrick’s day cards.
note: unbeknownst to me, presidents day is not the actual name of the holiday—it’s washington’s birthday. since presidents day is not official, there’s no official way to spell it and we are left to the mercy of car dealerships and furniture store circulars.
also inconsistent: is how it’s st. patrick’s day but columbus day.
then: there’s the odd case of veterans day.
finally: i would like to note that hallowe’en is a perfectly acceptable variant of halloween and therefore it is the only holiday that uses an apostrophe for purposes of contraction.
is it lame or cool to note that this chart is set in itc barcelona? donald says lame but donald wears black socks at the gym
thank you pierce for your unwavering enthusiasm for all things u.s.