Mother’s Day is the annual celebration of motherhood and the strength of the maternal bond, and a time to honor all mothers past and present. The day is celebrated across the world, although each country has its own traditions and standards for the day. Some countries have very specific customs, which are often rooted in religious ceremonies or teachings. In other societies Mother’s Day is more of a commercial event, where a card and a box of chocolates is the perfect show of gratitude for the hard work that is demanded of mothers on a daily basis.
Here in the United States we always celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May, which will be on May 11th this year. Across the Atlantic Ocean in the United Kingdom, Mother’s Day falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent – the forty day period leading up to Easter Sunday, which symbolizes Jesus’ forty days in the desert without food. Certain predominantly Catholic countries also celebrate the event on Virgin Mary Day, whereas certain ex-Communist countries prefer to honor International Women’s Day instead.
The roots of Mother’s Day can actually be found right here in the United States, when women’s peace group attempted to create a “Mother’s Friendship Day” to reunite those families which had been divided by the Civil War conflict. There were several attempts to establish an annual celebration on a local level, but the first major call for an official Mother’s Day didn’t come until almost thirty years later in 1907. The celebration is widely regarded as the invention of Anna Jarvis, continuing the work of her mother – Ann Jarvis – who had began campaigning for the event during the Civil War.
The first official service was held in Andrew’s Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia, where Ann Jarvis had originally taught at Sunday school. By 1909 the event was also celebrated widely across New York, and it received status as an official holiday in West Virginia in 1910. Many other states followed suit over the next few years, and in 1914 the U.S. Congress passed a law which designated the second Sunday of May as Mother’s Day. 1915 saw President Woodrow Wilson declare Mother’s Day as a day of respect for those mothers who had lost their loved ones in the war, and the event has been celebrated annually ever since.
As the event gained popularity, its original founder became more and more opposed to the commercial attitude which many individuals and companies had taken to the event. Anna Jarvis took particular offense to pre-printed greetings cards, which she saw as an easy alternative to hand-written letters, and was even arrested for disturbing the peace while protesting in 1948. To this day there remains debate over how best to celebrate the event, and whether or not money should be a part of the proceedings, but we cannot deny that the huge growth of the commercial cards and gifts industries has guaranteed the continued celebration of the holiday.
How will you be showing appreciation for your mother on this year’s Mother’s Day? Have you already purchased a gift, or are you planning anything particularly special for the day? Make mom feel loved this Mother’s Day.