In Canada, the United States, and in several
other countries, Motherís Day is celebrated on the second
Sunday in May. It is a day when we honour our mothers with
cards, gifts, and flowers.
The earliest Mother's Day celebrations took
place in ancient times, with spring festivals dedicated to
mother goddesses. In the ancient Greek empire, spring
festivals honoured Rhea, wife of God Cronus and mother of the
gods and goddesses. In ancient Rome, Mother's Day-like
festivals were dedicated to the worship of Cybele, another
mother goddess. Ceremonies in Cybeleís honour began some 250
years before Christ was born.
In the 1600ís, England began observing
Mothering Sunday, a day to honour the mothers of England. A
particularly significant custom in the early Mothering Sundays
involved men and women who were apprentices or servants
working and residing far away from home. These men and women
returned home on Mothering Sunday, bringing to their mothers
small gifts and a special cake called ďmothering cake.Ē
Mothering Sunday observances have since evolved to resemble
the modern celebrations of Mother's Day. Still celebrated on
the 4th Sunday of Lent (the 40 day period leading up to
Easter), Mothering Sunday is also called Mid-Lent Sunday.
There are conflicting accounts of the
history of Motherís Day in North America, a history with
origin in the United States. Most sources give the credit for
Motherís Day to Anna M. Jarvis from Philadelphia, who began a
campaign in 1907 to establish a national Motherís Day.
Following the death of her mother, Anna missed her mother
greatly and wanted to pay tribute to her. She felt children
often neglected to appreciate their mother enough while their
mother was still alive. She hoped Mother's Day would increase
respect for parents and strengthen family bonds.
In 1908, Ms. Jarvis convinced her motherís
church in West Virginia to celebrate Motherís Day on the
second anniversary of her motherís death, the second Sunday of
May. This was the first Motherís Day observance. By 1911,
every American state had its own observances. By then, other
areas celebrating Mother's Day included Canada, China, Japan,
South America and Africa. The Mother's Day International
Association was incorporated in 1912, with the purpose of
furthering meaningful observations of Mother's Day.
Consequent to the continuing efforts by Ms.
Jarvis and her supporters, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, in
1914, announced Motherís Day as a national holiday to be held
each year on the second Sunday of May. While many countries
celebrate their own Mother's Day at different times throughout
the year, countries such as Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey,
Australia, and Belgium celebrate Mother's Day on the second
Sunday of May, as in Canada and the U.S.
As you celebrate Motherís Day today, be sure
to remember its origin and purpose. Pay tribute to your mother
with honour, love and respect. Take care to shower her with
special attention on Motherís Day. Visit her. Phone her. Send
her a card. Give her flowers. Hug her. Get her something
sweet, such as gourmet chocolates or a special cake. Buy her a
special gift, something you know she's been wanting. Be sure
to remind her of how very special she is to you.
Wishing a Happy Motherís Day to every
For reference and further detail, check
Welcome to Motherís Day on the Net
All About Motherís Day
Motherís Day History and Customs
Suite University on Motherís Day
Visit Last Week's Feature: