It’s that time of year again when we are constantly reminded that Mother’s Day is just around the corner! We’re reminded to buy a card and gifts, flowers even. Or should we give some thought to Mothers Day History, and why it exists at all?
Mothers Day makes some of us appreciative, it makes some of us sad. It’s not a bad thing though – Mother’s day is a wonderful time to celebrate not only the mother figures in our lives, but also influential mothers in society.
It is also the perfect opportunity for children to thank their mothers for the love and care they have provided. If you’re a mother to teenage kids yourself, you might be thinking, ‘I’m so glad mother’s day exists!’
So what of Mothers Day history?
Many of us see Mother’s Day as just another holiday – one that has been around as long as we can remember without giving it too much thought. But how many of us actually know the origins of the day?
Looking long before the holiday was recognized, celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced as far back as the ancient Greeks and Romans who would hold festivals in honor of the mother goddesses.
More recent Mothers Day history
Unless you’re overly committed to history and honoring its traditions accurately, you might be more familiar with the earlier Christian representation of Mother’s Day. The Christian festival known as ‘Mothering Sunday’ falls on the fourth Sunday during Lent. This festival led to a tradition where children would thank their mothers and present them with gifts or flowers as tokens of appreciation. Now it’s starting to sound more like current times!
The contribution of Anne Reeves Jarvis
The idea for an official Mother’s Day holiday that we now celebrate originated in the US in 1905 when a woman named Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her own mother in St. Andrews Methodist Church. Anna’s mother, Anne Reeves Jarvis, was a notable advocate for women and had started ‘Mother’s Day Work Clubs’. The work clubs taught mothers how to look after their children and educate women on parenting.
When Ann Reeves Jarvis passed away, her daughter Anna Jarvis wanted a way to celebrate and acknowledge the sacrifices mothers like her own had made for their children. This celebration became one of the driving forces of Mother’s Day.
Anna fought and campaigned for the celebration to become a regular holiday to celebrate all mothers. After 6 years, it was finally recognized as a holiday on the second Sunday in May of every year. After it became a largely celebrated holiday, the Christian festival ‘mothering Sunday’ became a more secular tradition and merged with the US Mother’s Day in the 1930’s and 1940’s.
The commercialisation of Mothers Day
Originally, Anna petitioned for a way for women to be acknowledged not only for their achievements but also for the relationship between mother and child. However, by the 1920’s, Mother’s Day had become highly commercialized with cards being sold from Hallmark and other companies taking advantage of this national holiday to make a profit. A more lackluster aspect of Mothers Day history, perhaps?
Anna decided that this was not what she had campaigned for and instead petitioned for the holiday to be removed. However, her boycotting was fruitless and Mother’s Day remains a commonly recognized holiday. Mother’s Day is now recognized in 40 countries across the world.
Mothers Day around the globe
Although Mother’s Day is celebrated in many different countries, the date and style of celebration is often different. The way it’s celebrated is often specific to the culture and tradition of those celebrating it. For example, the US and Australia celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May of each year. The two countries celebrate it in similar styles, such as giving gifts or flowers to their mother or spending quality time together with an outdoor activity.
UK and Ireland celebrate Mother’s Day on the fourth Sunday in the month of lent.
Other countries such as Mexico honor their mother figures by inviting a band to come serenade them in their own homes, with the mother being the lucky one who gets to pick her favorite song. Serbia has its own unique tradition, one where the children are tied up and only released if they were ‘smart’ enough to hide presents for their mothers under their beds. As you can see, there isn’t one way to celebrate Mother’s Day!
Good to know!
That’s our lesson on Mother’s Day history. Looking back now on how it became such a recognized holiday across the world, it makes perfect sense. Hopefully, next year you’ll be able to share its origins with one of your friends. Or maybe even with your mother or child!
We would also like to wish a Happy Mother’s day to all the Mother figures out there! We thank them for all their love and the sacrifices that they have made!
pssst! Need a Mother’s Day gift, or two?
Tea Party Girl recently independently reviewed 10 teas from Adagio Teas. You may like to select something from their wonderful range of teas and tea wares. The special mother figures in your life with thank you!