Don’t forget that this Sunday is Mother’s Day — so get those cards, flowers, and presents in the mail…
When and why did Mother’s Day start? Today’s Mother’s Day is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, most commonly in May, though also in March, as a day to honor moms and motherhood…
In the UK and Ireland it follows the old traditions of Mothering Sunday.
Some believe that this day emerged from a custom of mother worship in ancient Greece, which kept a festival to Cybele, a great mother of Greek gods [see Encyclopedia Britannica|(1959)Vol.15,p. 849]. This festival was held around the Vernal Equinox around Asia Minor and eventually in Rome itself from the Ides of March — 15 March to 18 March.
The old school Romans also had another holiday, Matronalia, that was dedicated to Juno, though mothers were usually given gifts on this day.
In Europe there were several long standing traditions where a specific Sunday was set aside to honor motherhood and mothers such as Mothering Sunday, celebrations that are part of the liturgical calendar in several Christian denominations, including Anglicans; in the Catholic calendar it is marked as Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday in Lent to honour the Virgin Mary and your “mother” church.
Some historians contend that children who served in houses were given a day off on that date so they could visit their families. The children would pick wild flowers along the way to place them on the church or to give them to their mothers.
International Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time in 28 February 1909, in the US, by which time Anna Jarvis had already begun her national campaign in the US.
It is now celebrated in many countries on March 8.
The “Mother’s Day Proclamation” by Julia Ward Howe was one of the early calls to celebrate Mother’s Day in the United States. Written in 1870, Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation was a pacifist reaction to the carnage of the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War.
The Proclamation was tied to Howe’s feminist belief that women had a responsibility to shape their societies at the political level.
In 1912, Anna Jarvis trademarked the phrases “second Sunday in May” and “Mother’s Day”, and created the Mother’s Day International Association.
“She was specific about the location of the apostrophe; it was to be a singular possessive, for each family to honour their mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world.”
This is also the spelling used by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in the law making official the holiday in the U.S., by the U.S. Congress on bills.
Nine years after the first official Mother’s Day, commercialization of the U.S. holiday became so rampant that Anna Jarvis herself became a major opponent of what the holiday had become and spent all her inheritance and the rest of her life fighting what she saw as an abuse of the celebration.
Later commercial and other exploitations of the use of Mother’s Day infuriated Anna and she made her criticisms explicitly known; she criticized the practice of purchasing greeting cards, which she saw as a sign of being too lazy to write a personal letter.
She was arrested in 1948 for disturbing the peace while protesting against the commercialization of Mother’s Day, and she finally said that she “wished she would have never started the day because it became so out of control.”
Mother’s Day continues to this day to be one of the commercially most successful U.S. occasions. According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother’s Day is now the most popular day of the year to dine out at a restaurant in the United States.
Statistics indicate that Americans will spend approximately $2.6 billion on flowers, $1.53 billion on pampering gifts (such as spa treatments) and another $68 million on greeting cards
And to help celebrate Mother’s Day, Hallmark Channel has set up a VWall on the “Meet My Mom” tab of its Facebook page featuring multimedia user-generated content along with content submitted by the network. Both military and civilian users are encouraged to share tributes, photos and videos of their moms.