The second Sunday in May is the day set aside to honor the mothers in your life.
Have you ever thought about where this tradition comes from or how long it’s been around?
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that mothers have held a place of honor for a very long time.
Let’s take a look at how the holiday originated and how it came to be celebrated in America.
Going WAY back
You probably had some idea that the Greeks and Romans would be involved, right?
If so, you were right. The Greeks and Romans held festivals to celebrate the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele.
But there’s another mother-inspired holiday that aligns more closely with our celebration.
However, our modern traditions stem more closely from an early Christian festival called, “Mothering Sunday,” which was widely observed in certain parts of Europe and throughout the United Kingdom.
It was held on the fourth Sunday of Lent and was a time for church-goers to return to their “mother church,” or the parish that was in their home village.
This tradition slowly became a more secular day and children would give their mothers flowers and small gifts.
Mother’s Day in the U.S.
Mother’s Day in America goes back to the 19th century.
In 1868, the United States was still divided over the Civil War.
Ann Reeves Jarvis, a mother from West Virginia, started “Mother’s Friendship Day,” which was a time for mothers to gather together with former Union and Confederate soldiers in an effort to encourage reconciliation.
Mother’s Day as we know it today is a result of the efforts of Ann Reeves Jarvis’ daughter Anna.
When the elder Jarvis passed away in 1905, her daughter came up with the idea of celebrating Mother’s Day as a way to honor mothers and the sacrifices they make for their children.
Making it official
Anna Jarvis got the financial support of a department store owner and the first official Mother’s Day event was held at a Methodist church in Grafton, Virginia in May 1908.
Jarvis didn’t stop there.
She started a letter-writing campaign in order to get Mother’s Day on the calendar as a legitimate holiday.
In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a decree that established Mother’s Day as the second Sunday in May each year.
Mother’s Day around the globe
Today, Mother’s Day is celebrated in nearly every country, though the specific dates and traditions vary.
Here are some of the interesting Mother’s Day observances around the world.
Honor the mother in your life
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