The History Behind Mother’s Day

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G. Poduval, Staff Writer

Mothers’ day is a date celebrated around the world appreciating the influences of mothers in society and respecting motherly bonds and figures. This year in the United States, Mothers’ Day occurs on Sunday, May 8. While practices of this holiday may differ around the world, most involve presenting mothers with cards, flowers, or other gifts.

Observation of a special day for mothers can be dated back to Greek and Roman societies, where festivals were held for the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele. Later an early Christian festival emerged to be called “Mothering Sunday”. This festival was celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent, where believers would visit their “mother church”, or the main church near their home, for a special service. Eventually, this holiday became less of religious observation and more of a fun day to take part in by sending flowers and cards to mothers.

In the United States, Mothers’ Day celebrations began in the 19th century. An abolitionist and suffragette named Julia Ward held campaigns for mothers to unite for world peace, and a duo of Mary Towles Sasseen and Frank Hering worked towards creating a Mothers’ Day celebration, but it was never approved.

A woman named Ann Reeves Jarvis from West Virginia helped begin “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to help women better care for their kids. Her daughter Anna Jarvis later held the first official celebration of Mothers’ Day in West Virginia. Jarvis later argued for her holiday to be added to the national calendar, as most holidays at that time were centered around male achievements. She had also established the Mothers’ Day International Association to help her cause. In 1914, a measure was signed by President Woodrow Wilson which officially established the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

Outside the United States, celebrations of this holiday widely vary. In many parts of Europe, the festival is still celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent. In Mexico, Día de las Madres is celebrated on May 10 as a huge event where families come together to celebrate. Meanwhile, in Thailand, Mother’s Day is celebrated on August 12 as a celebration for Queen Sirikit, as she’s seen as the mother of the country. Contrary to any other Mother’s Day celebrations though, Ethiopia celebrates Antrosht for three entire days at the end of the rainy season celebrating mothers in communities and mother earth as a whole.

Mother’s Day has a wide history and a lot of people contributed to it to make it a reality. This Mother’s Day, honor motherly figures in society and the bonds they bring us.