When is Mother's Day?
Not a public holiday, but a legal national holiday observed on the second Sunday in May in the United States.
Mother's Day is celebrated across the world, in more than 50 countries, though not all countries celebrate it on the same day.
Countries which celebrate Mother's Day on the second Sunday of May include Australia, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Switzerland, Turkey and Belgium. In Mexico and may parts of Latin America, Mother's Day is celebrated on May 10 of each year. In Thailand, it is celebrated on 12 August, the birthday of the current Queen.
Arguably, the tradition of a day to celebrate mothers can be traced back to the times of the ancient Greeks, who held festivities to honour Rhea, the mother of the gods.
Early Christians celebrated the fourth Sunday of Lent as a Mother's festival to honour Mary, the mother of Christ.
In the UK, the tradition of Mother's Day is now very similar to its American counterpart, but its origins are different, as the day commemorates returning to your mother church on the fourth Sunday in lent.
The English colonists who settled in America discontinued the tradition of Mothering Sunday, as presumably it would have been a bit of a trip to return to their mother church for the day.
The American tradition
For a holiday, that became popular in fairly recent times, we can still manage to find three originations for the day.
A true American Mother's day was first suggested in the United States by Julia Ward Howe, writer of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. She suggested that the day be dedicated to peace. Starting in 1872, she organized Mother's Day meetings in Boston every year.
However, some would argue that Mother's day on the current date was almost accidentally set in motion by Mrs. Juliet Calhoun Blakely. On Sunday 11 May 1877, Mrs. Blakely's birthday, her son who was the pastor of her Church, left the pulpit abruptly. Mrs. Blakely then stepped to the pulpit and took over the rest of the service, calling for other mothers to join her.
Mrs. Blakely's two sons felt so moved by their mother's actions that they vowed to return to their hometown of Albion, Michigan., every year to mark their mother's birthday. In addition, the brothers urged others to honour their own mothers on the second Sunday of May.
In terms of the holiday gaining it's national status, undoubtedly the main driver was a Philadelphia schoolteacher called Anna M. Jarvis.
In 1907, Miss Anna, began a movement to set up a national Mother's Day in honor of her mother. Anna's mother, Mrs. Anna M. Jarvis, had been instrumental in developing "Mothers Friendship Day" which was set up to assist in the healing process after the Civil War. Miss Jarvis wanted to set aside a day to honour all mothers, living and dead.
Miss Jarvis and her supporters began to write to ministers, evangelists, businessmen, and politicians in their crusade to establish a national Mother's Day.
The first Mother's Day observance was a church service favourite the second anniversary of her mother's death, the second Sunday of May. Anna handed out her mother's favourite flowers, white incarnations.
The following year, Mother's Day was also celebrated in Miss Anna's own city of Philadelphia. By 1911, Mother's Day had spread nationwide and was being celebrated in almost every state in the Union.
In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as a national holiday in honour of mothers.
Over the years, Mother's day became increasingly popular and the current traditions of card and gift giving increased. It is said that the commercialization of the Mother's day angered Anna as she felt that the original sentiment of the day was being sacrificed at the expense of greed and profit.
Mother's Day is now one of the most commercially 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. This year, consumers are expected to spend $21.2 billion on Mother's Day, an increase of 5 percent from last year, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.
The Greeting Card Association estimates that more than 150 million Mother’s Day cards are exchanged in the U.S. every year, making Mother’s Day the third largest card-sending holiday after Christmas and Valentine’s Day.
Mothers day around the world
In Argentina, Mother's Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of October. The holiday used to celebrated on 11 October. This was the old date for the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary but after this date was moved to 1 January, the tradition of an October Mother's Day was continued with the third Sunday of October adopted as Mother's Day.
In Russia, Mother's Day is celebrated on the last Sunday of November. It was established as a national holiday by the decree of 30 January 1998 by the President of the Russian Federation, Boris Yeltsin.