Mother's Day is a celebration that honours the mother within the family, motherhood, maternal bonds and the influence of mothers in society. It is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, usually in March or May.
Thousands of years ago there were many traditional celebrations around the world for mothers and motherhood.
The ancient Greeks and Romans dedicated many feasts to the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele, respectively. In England in the 16th century there was Mother's Day, during which children would worship in their family church (also known as the "mother" church) on the fourth Sunday of Lent. This celebration also provided a good excuse for a family reunion - usually for the daughters of the family, where they worked as domestic helpers - to be able to see their mothers. In some countries, Mother's Day celebration is still synonymous with these older traditions.
Julia Ward Howe
There is an anti-war story behind Mother's Day. In the 1870s, the poet and writer Julia Ward Howe wrote “The Declaration of Mother's Day”. For her and the anti-war activists who agreed with her position - including Anna Jarvis's mother, the idea of Mother's Day should spread unity around the world after so many post-civil war traumas in America and France-Prussian war in Europe.
Howe invited women to gather once a year in churches or community halls, to listen to sermons, present essays, singing hymns, or pray if they wished - all in the name of promoting peace.
In recent years Mother's Day was first celebrated in 1908 when Anna Jarvis erected a memorial service for her mother at St. Andrew's Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. After the death of her mother in 1905, Anna Jarvis came up with the idea of creating Mother's Day as a way of honouring the sacrifices mothers made for their children.
The original idea to start Anna Jarvis' Mother's Day was to create a community service day to help mothers in need. She was inspired in part by the tragedies of her own mother who gave birth to 13 children, but only four of them lived to adulthood. Their purpose was to educate women about proper hygiene and to give their children more chances to stay healthy.
Anna Jarvis was a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War and set up her mother's work clubs to address public health issues. Together with Julia Ward Howe, they called for the creation of a Mother's Day dedicated to peace. Anna Jarvis wanted to dedicate a day to honouring all mothers because she believed that mother is "the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world."
In 1908, the US Congress rejected a proposal to make Mother's Day an official holiday. However, due to the efforts of Anna Jarvis, in 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother's Day, held on the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honour mothers.
While Jarvis initially worked with the flower industry to promote her Mother's Day profile, she was later disappointed with the commercialization of the holiday. She began to believe that companies had misinterpreted and exploited the idea of Mother's Day and that the emphasis of the celebration was on emotion, not profit. She argued that people should appreciate and honour their mothers with handwritten letters expressing their love and gratitude, instead of buying gifts and prefabricated cards.
Jarvis eventually launched an open campaign against florists and patisseries and urged people to stop buying flowers, cards and sweets for Mother's Day. It was opposed to organizations that used the occasion as a way to raise funds for charity.
She launched countless lawsuits against groups that used the name "Mother's Day", eventually spending most of her personal wealth on legal fees. Her perseverance never diminished and she devoted the rest of her life and savings to fighting against the commercialization of the Day. She spent some of her last years in a sanatorium and died, without a penny, in 1948.
Following in the footsteps of Anna Jarvis, some women in the second half of the 20th century used Mother's Day to draw attention to important causes. For example, Codetta Scott King organized a march in 1968 to fight for disadvantaged women and children, and in the 1970s, women's groups used the day to discuss equal rights and access to child care.
Mother's Day around the world
Whatever date Mother's Day is celebrated around the world, the essence is the same everywhere. It is the day when the child will express respect and gratitude to their mother, thanking her for their birth and the best care and upbringing.
Find below the different ways in which this day is celebrated in different countries of the world.
It is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent, and has its roots in the earlier years in which separated families would return to their original church. Today the celebration is based on religion while traditionally the girls bake a fruit cake that they will give to their mothers.
In 1920, the French government began awarding medals to mothers of large families who helped rebuild the population after so many lives were lost in World War I. After World War II, the government declared the last Sunday in May as Mother's Day.
Mother's Day is celebrated on the first Sunday in May in Spain and like all over the world, this day is celebrated all over the country to honour all mothers. Mothers for this special day receive gifts such as chocolates, flowers, cards, jewellery and clothes. Some families dine in a restaurant while others stay in and celebrate the day with traditional, homemade meals.
Mother's Day along with Christmas and Valentine's Day is one of the busiest days of the year in Canada. Greeting cards, flowers and sweets are the most popular gifts to express their love to their mother. Going out to a restaurant, cinema or for a picnic is a way to wish their beloved mother well.
Mother's Day in Mexico is celebrated on May 10. It is an extremely popular occasion celebrated throughout the country, with special events funded by schools, churches, and political groups. The family tradition is for sons and daughters to come to their mother's house on the eve of Mother's Day (May 9). Mother's Day celebrations, handmade gifts, flowers, cards and children's school presentations are a key element of the festive process.
Similar celebrations are common all over the world, including Argentina (2nd Sunday in October), Lebanon (1st Sunday in spring), Norway (2nd Sunday in February), South Africa (1st Sunday in May), Sweden (last Sunday in May) and Serbia (two weeks before Christmas).
In India, Hindus celebrate a ten-day festival in October in honour of their Divine Mother, Darga, and a westernized version of Mother's Day is officially observed on May 10.
After World War II, a version of Mother's Day became popular as a way of consoling mothers who had lost their sons in the war. You will see carnations on display during the March holidays, as they symbolize the sweetness and resilience of motherhood in Japanese culture. In the tradition, the children gave a red carnation to a mother whose child was alive and a white one if their child had died.
In the United States, Mother's Day continues to be celebrated on the second Sunday in May with Americans giving gifts and flowers to their mother along with their wishes.
Other countries celebrating Mother's Day on the second Sunday in May include: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Japan, Greece and Turkey.
Mother's Day is an annual holiday in countries such as Costa Rica (August 15, the same day as the Assumption Day), Georgia (March 3), Samoa (second Monday in May) and Thailand (12 August) (Birthday of their queen).
While dates and holidays vary, Mother's Day traditionally includes sending gifts such as flowers, cards, jewellery and other gifts. Regardless of the distance, you can still let your mom know you are thinking about her with a beautiful gift from our e-shop that will delight her.