Mother’s Day in USA
Mother’s Day - History
The history of Mother's Day goes back many centuries – as far as the Egyptians. Early Christians celebrated the Mother's festival on the fourth Sunday of Lent to honour Mary, the mother of Christ. Later on, a religious order included the celebration of all mothers and named it as the Mothering Sunday. English colonists settled in America discontinued the tradition of Mothering Sunday because of lack of time, however in 1872 Julia Ward Howe organized a day for mothers dedicated to peace. This was a landmark in the history of Mother's Day.
The English colonists that settled in America discontinued the tradition of Mothering Sunday because of lack of time. In 1872 Julia Ward Howe organized a day for mothers dedicated to peace.
Julia Howe had become very distraught by the deaths during the Civil War that she called on all mothers to come together to protest against what she perceived as senseless killing. With this in mind she organised an international Mother's Day celebrating peace and motherhood. This has become the landmark in the history of modern Mother's Day.
Julia Howe even proposed to convert the 4th of July into Mother’s Day and dedicate the day to peace. However the 2nd June was designated for this celebration and in 1873, 18 women’s groups celebrated this new Mother’s holiday in cities across North America.
Even not successful Julie Howe has planted the seed and in 1907 Anne Jarvis from Philadelphia set up a group to celebrate Mother’s Day and to honour of her mother. The first Mother's Day was a church service honouring Anna's mother to which Anna handed out white carnations, her mother's favourite flowers. Anne Jarvis' hard work paid off when in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as a national holiday in honour of mothers. The celebration became more and more popular and it became more commercialised.
Anne Jarvis was not happy about this and in 1923 sued to stop a Mother’s Day event and sale of flowers. During the 1930's she was arrested for disturbing the peace at the American War Mothers group.
Watch the video to see what became of Anne Jarvis
Anna Jarvis died in 1948, blind, poor and with no children. She never knew that the care she received during her last years of her life had been paid anonymously by The Florist's Exchange.
By the time of her death, over 40 countries observed the Mother’s Day. Today white carnations are given to remember deceased Mothers, and pink or red to pay tribute to Mothers who are alive.
To this day every year the American President is required to proclaim Mother’s Day holiday shortly before it is due and while he proclaims the event a group of mothers, who has lost a child in the a war, set up a protest against war. Mother’s day in America is celebrated the 2nd Sunday in May.
Mothers Day in some parts of the World
The majority of countries celebrating Mother's Day do so on the second Sunday of May.
Some of the countries celebrate Mother’s Day:
Canada - Canada was one of the first nations to pick up the US version of Mother’s Day.
Argentina - Though most of South America observes Mother's Day in May, Argentina celebrates it the 2nd Sunday in October. This is due to the country’s being located in the southern hemisphere. This corresponds to Argentina’s springtime.
India - A westernized version of Mother's Day is officially observed on 10th May mainly in large cities. However, Hindus have been celebrating Durga Puja – a divine mother derived from ancient Greece – with a 10 day festival in October. This festival is now one of the biggest events in India and families spend weeks preparing food and gifts.
Japan - Japanese Christians were celebrating Mother’s Day based on the American practice. During and after WWII the practice was banned along with all other western customs. After the war, however, the tradition was taken up again to help comfort to the Mothers who had lost children in the war and by 1949, the celebration of Mother's Day had again spread throughout the country associated with an art contest for children. The event was held every 4 years and the children would enter a drawing of their mothers, and the winning drawings would tour through Japan with an art exhibition celebrating Mothers and Peace. Today the Japanese celebrate Mother's Day on 2nd Sunday of May.
Asia & Australia as well as many Asian countries celebrate Mother’s Day drawing on from the American’s tradition.
Bahrain - In Bahrain Mother's Day coincides with the first day of spring, observed as March 21, the same is in Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates.
China - China’s Mother’s Day draws heavily from the United States’ tradition and carnations are a very popular gift and the most sold type of flower. In 1997 it this day was set to help poor mothers, especially in rural areas such as China's western region. The official government's Chinese newspaper, explained in an article that even though the tradition originates from the States, Chinese people can accept the holiday because it is in line with the country's traditional ethics of respect for the elderly and parents.
In recent years there has been other non-governmental suggestion to celebrate Mother’s Day in memory of Meng Mu which is supported by 100 Confucian scholars. This group also asked to replace the carnations with lilies, which in ancient times, were planted by Chinese mothers when children left home. This festival remains unofficial and it is only celebrated in a small number of cities
Hong Kong - Hong Kong’s holiday is noted for its custom to pay respect to the parents of the mother, if she is deceased.
Italy - The Italians celebrate the day with a big feast and a cake. Typically Italian schoolchildren will make something to bring home to their mothers and the family will take care of the chores for the day. Mother's Day in Italy was celebrated for the first time on 12th May 1957, in Assisi thanks to the initiative of a parish priest. The celebration was so successful that the following year it was adopted throughout Italy, where since then it is celebrated on the 2nd Sunday in May.
Sweden - Sweden’s Mother’s Day, which takes place on the last Sunday in May, has a strong charitable focus: the Swedish Red Cross which sells small plastic flowers leading up to the holiday, with the proceeds raised being given to poor mothers and their children.
Thailand - Perhaps the most unique Asian Mother's Day holiday takes place in Thailand. The celebration coincides with the birthday of their beloved queen, Sirikit Kitayakara, who has reigned since 1950. Her birthday, and therefore Mother's Day, takes place on 12th August.
Germany - In the 1920s, Germany had the lowest birth-rate in Europe. At the same time, influential groups in society thought that mothers should be honoured. These groups had one belief in common: the celebration of the values of motherhood. In 1923 this resulted in the unanimous adoption of Mother's Day which they imported from America and Norway and in 1925, the Mother's Day Committee started focusing the holiday as being about the level of population Germany. The holiday was seen as a means to get women to bear more children, and nationalists saw it as a way of rejuvenating the nation. The holiday did not celebrate individual women, but an idealized standard of motherhood. Some local authorities decided to make the holiday a day to support economically larger families or single-mother families and subsidies were given to families in economic needs.
During 1933–1945 with the Nazi party in power all changed radically. They started promoting the role of mothers as that of giving healthy children to the German nation. The Nazi party's intention was to create a pure ‘Aryan race’. Also the government promoted the death of a mother's sons in battle as the highest embodiment of patriotic motherhood.
This new official Nazis spin brought discontent among organizations such as the Catholic and Protestant churches and local women organizations. Local authorities resisted the guidelines from the government and kept assigning resource to families that were in economical need.
In 1938 the Nazi’s government started issuing an award ‘Mother’s cross’, with different categories depending on the number of children. The cross intended to encourage having more children, and recipients had to have at least 4 children. The award promoted loyalty among German women and it was a popular even though it had little material value. The winners of the award had to be examined by doctors and social workers according to genetic and racial values that were considered beneficial. Friends and family were also examined for possible flaws that could disqualify them, and they had to be "racially and morally fit". Among the criteria they had to be ‘German-blooded’ and they could not have vices like drinking. Criteria against were, for example, ‘unfeminine’ behaviour like smoking or poor housekeeping. Even contact with a Jew could disqualify a potential recipient. Application of policies was uneven as doctors promoted medical criteria over racial criteria, and local authorities promoted economical need over any other criteria.
Nowadays Mother’s Day is celebrated on the 2nd Sunday of May like most European counties.
Mother’s Day Trivia
- In the vast majority of the world's languages, the word for "mother" begins with the letter ‘M’;
- A mother giraffe often gives birth while standing, so the new born first experience outside the womb is a 1.8-meter drop;
- Just like people, mother chimpanzees often develop lifelong relationships with their offspring.