The History of Mother's Day

The History of Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is a holiday celebrated every year on the second Sunday of May in honor of mothers and motherhood. It is a day to express gratitude for all the love and sacrifices that mothers make for their children.

Mother’s Day Ancient Origins

The origins of Mother’s Day can be traced back to ancient times. Many cultures have celebrated festivals in honor of mothers and motherhood. In ancient Greece and Rome, for example, there were festivals dedicated to Rhea, the mother of the gods, and Cybele, the mother of the mountains.

Today, Mother’s Day is an annual holiday celebrated in many countries around the world to honor and appreciate mothers and motherly figures for their contributions to society and their families. But, while the concept of celebrating mothers dates back to ancient civilizations, the modern holiday we know today has its roots in the United States.

Origins of Mother’s Day in the United States

The modern Mother’s Day in the United States can be traced back to the efforts of Anna Jarvis. Anna’s mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, was a social activist and community organizer who had organized “Mother’s Day Work Clubs” during the mid-19th century. These clubs provided healthcare and education to underprivileged children and families in their communities. Ann Jarvis’s work inspired her daughter Anna, who wanted to continue her mother’s legacy after her death.

Anna Jarvis held the first Mother’s Day celebration in Grafton, West Virginia, on May 10, 1908. She organized a memorial for her mother and invited guests to honor their own mothers. The event was a great success, and Anna continued to campaign for the recognition of Mother’s Day as a national holiday.

In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation declaring the second Sunday of May as Mother’s Day, making it a national holiday in the United States.

Changes in Mother’s Day Celebrations Over Time

While Anna Jarvis’s intention was to honor mothers and their contributions to society, she quickly became disillusioned with the commercialization of the holiday. She believed that the true meaning of Mother’s Day was being lost as it became more about buying gifts and cards than honoring mothers.

Despite Anna’s efforts to keep the holiday simple and meaningful, Mother’s Day became increasingly commercialized. Florists, greeting card companies, and other retailers saw an opportunity to capitalize on the holiday’s popularity and began marketing Mother’s Day gifts and cards.

Today, Mother’s Day is a highly commercialized holiday, with many people spending large amounts of money on gifts, cards, and flowers. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans spent an estimated $28.1 billion on Mother’s Day in 2021, with the average person spending $220.48.

Despite the commercialization of Mother’s Day, many people still use the holiday as an opportunity to express their gratitude and appreciation for their mothers. In addition to traditional gifts like flowers and cards, people often celebrate Mother’s Day by spending quality time with their mothers and taking them out to brunch or dinner.

Mother’s Day Around the World

While the United States celebrates Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May, the holiday is celebrated on different dates around the world. In the United Kingdom, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent, while in Mexico, it is celebrated on May 10th.

In some countries, Mother’s Day is celebrated as part of International Women’s Day on March 8th. In Russia, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the last Sunday of November, while in Thailand, it is celebrated on August 12th, which is the birthday of Queen Sirikit.

Despite these changes, Mother’s Day remains a day to celebrate mothers and motherhood. It is a time to express gratitude for all the love and sacrifices that mothers make for their children.