Mother's Day is a yearly observance which takes place across the world in celebration of mothers, maternal bonds, motherhood, and the impact mothers have in the world. Mother's Day is observed on different days in many cities and countries around the globe, mostly in March, April, or May. Mother's Day correlates with other observances such as Siblings Day, Father's Day, and Grandparent's Day, which celebrate other family members.The scope of celebrations on this day may significantly vary because first, the holiday initially evolved in America before it was adopted in other parts of the world, and secondly, some countries had existing traditions and celebrations that honored mothers.
What is the origin of Mother's Day?
The North American Mother's Day Tradition
Although this holiday is relatively widespread, three accounts describe its origin in the American culture.
Historically, Mother's Day was first observed in 1908, during a memorial held by Anna Jarvis for her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, at St Andrew's Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. Anna Jarvis' fight to make Mother's Day an acknowledged holiday in the US started in 1905, when her mother passed away.
Her mother was a peace activist who attended to wounded soldiers during the American Civil War and also established Mother's Day Work Clubs to discuss public health problems. Anna Jarvis decided to progress the work her mother had started and also establish a day to celebrate all mothers for the sacrifices they make for their children.
In 1908, US Congress declined a suggestion to make Mother's Day a national day. However, in 1911, Anna Jarvis' efforts finally paid off because the majority of US states celebrated the holiday. In 1914, a proclamation decreeing the second Sunday in May as the national Mother's Day was signed by Woodrow Wilson. Undoubtedly for this holiday to gain its official status in the US, Miss Anna Jervis was the pioneer.
Another account holds that Mother's Day was initially proposed in the US by Julia Ward Howe, writer of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Howe advocated for this day to be purposefully for peace. As a result, from 1872, Howe planned an annual Mother's Day conference in Boston.
A third account claims that Mother's Day was set into motion and established accidentally by Mrs. Juliet Calhoun Blakely during her birthday, on May 11, 1877. On this day, Mrs. Blakely's son, a priest of the church where she was attending, suddenly left the pulpit. Mrs. Blakely advanced on to the platform and seized the remaining part of the service, requesting other mothers to join her. Blakely's actions moved her two sons who vowed to always come to their hometown of Albion, Michigan during their mother's birthday every year.
The Early Mother's Day History
Arguably, Mother's Day celebrations can be drawn back to the era of ancient Greek, who held celebrations in honour of Rhea, the mother of the gods.
Early Christians observed the fourth Sunday of Lent as Mother's Day in celebration of Mary, the mother of Christ. In some Christian homes, families dedicate special shrines to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Additionally, in the majority of Eastern Orthodox churches and Eastern Catholic churches, exclusive prayers for the Virgin Mary are held.
In Islam, there is no notion of Mother's Day, but the Quran advises that children should give preference to loving their mother over their father.
In Hindu tradition, Mother's Day, also known as Mother Pilgrimage fortnight, has its underpinning in Hindu religion which dates back a few centuries before the US-inspired Mother's Day celebrations began.
In the UK, although Mother's Day celebrations are the same as those in America, their origins differ. In the UK, Mother's Day celebrates the returning to your mother church on the fourth Sunday during Lent.
When is Mother's Day celebrated across the world?
Over the years, Mother's Day has progressively become a popular observance across the world with the customary tradition of card and gift giving increasing. It is claimed that the commercialization of this holiday angered Anna Jarvis, who believed that companies misunderstood and exploited the notion of the holiday which was sentiment, not profit.
Although most countries across the world adopted the American tradition of Mother's Day, existing celebrations, observed on different dates celebrating mothers have come to be known as Mother's Day. An example of this includes Mothering Sunday, in Greece or in the UK, the Eastern Orthodox festival of presenting Jesus Christ to the temple. Even though mothering Sunday is usually known as Mother's Day, these two are entirely unrelated holidays.
In some countries, the date implemented for this holiday is symbolic to the majority religion, such as Virgin Mary Day for countries with Catholic communities, which in others the dates were associated with historical significance. For instance, in Bolivia, Mother's Day is a permanent date commemorating a battle in which women engaged in to protect their children.