Mother’s Day Around the World
May 2, 2011
Mother’s Day, Muttertag, La Festa della Mamma, Mothering Sunday, Día de las Madres, etc. – it goes by many different names. But, however you say it, the expression of love and appreciation is the same. Mother’s Day is celebrated to honor all mothers and express gratitude for the hardships they bear in bringing up a child. In this post we will explore how people commemorate Mother’s Day around the world.
Motherhood – Always Celebrated
Prehistoric tribes worshipped the mother Goddess as the creator of life. Archeologists find female goddess figures in many digs. Most mothering festivals in early history were in the springtime. They celebrated the rebirth of the land and the beginning of the most fertile time of the year. These festivities honored the goddess in all women. Therefore, many countries celebrate Mother’s Day around the world in the beginning of spring. For example, the US, Australia, Canada, and India do it on the second Sunday of May.
Mother’s Day Origin in England
In the United Kingdom Mother’s Day is celebrated with families. This is the day when people bring flowers and gifts to their moms. Mothering Sunday was the fourth Sunday in Lent, a special day when all the strict rules about fasting and penance were off. Older children who were away from home learning a trade or working as servants could return home for Mothering Sunday. The family then gathers for a mid-Lenten feast with Mother as the special guest. Along with a rare visit from her children, mothers received treats of cakes and wildflower bouquets. While Mothering Sunday is still celebrated, most now know it as Mother’s Day around the world.
Mother’s Day Origin in the United States
Julia Ward Howe, who wrote the words to the Battle Hymn of the Republic, suggested the idea of an International Mother’s Day to celebrate peace and motherhood in 1872. There were many other women who were active with local groups holding annual Mother’s Day remembrances. However, most were more religious gatherings and not the holiday that we know today.
One of the women who was working on establishing Mother’s Day as a national celebration was the mother of Anna Jarvis. Mrs. Jarvis held an annual gathering, Mother’s Friendship Day, to heal the pain of the Civil War. After she died in 1905, Anna campaigned for the establishment of an official Mother’s Day to commemorate her mother.
The first official Mother’s Day celebration happened at Andrew’s Methodist Church on May 10, 1908, with 407 persons in attendance. Anna Jarvis sent 500 white carnations to the church in Grafton. Each son and daughter was to wear one. And each mother in attendance would wear two. Anna Jarvis’ campaign is the reason we have a formal holiday. In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson declared that the US should celebrate Mother’s Day as a national holiday on the second Sunday in May.
Mother’s Day may not have turned out to be the holiday that Julia Ward Howe, Anna Jarvis, and countless other women imagined. However, nowadays people celebrate Mother’s Day around the world to honor the women who give so much to their families without asking for anything in return. Perhaps every day should be Mother’s Day. Yet, most families are too busy with everyday business to say “Thank you!” for every meal or every good night kiss.
Mother’s Day Around the World
Even though a staggering number of countries (80+) celebrate Mother’s Day on the first or second Sunday of May, there are other dates when people in other countries honor motherhood. Most of them are indeed in May or in March. For example, March 21st a.k.a. Spring Equinox, is the chosen date in about 20 countries, including Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. March 8th, International Women’s Day, is another popular date when countries celebrate Mother’s Day. Some of the oddest dates of this holiday are the second Sunday of February (in Norway), the third Sunday of October (in Argentina), and December 22nd in Indonesia.
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