Mother’s Day has become really commercialised over the years so it’s lovely to take a minute and learn about the history behind this super special day. Read on to find out out about how this day of expression of love and gratitude for mums came about 🙂
Mother’s Day has become an integral event in the calendar year and is celebrated in 46 countries throughout the world. Mother’s day is celebrated on different day in various countries, but usually takes place between March and May each year. In Australia, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. You will notice that shops start to fill up with pressies and cards well in advance of the actual day! However, you may wonder how Mother’s Day began and how we celebrate it has changed.
Mother’s Day can be traced back to the ancient annual spring festival which the Greeks dedicated to maternal goddesses. However, the concept behind Mother’s Day, as we have come to understand it, originated in America in the 1850’s. It was started by a peace activist called Ann Reeves Jarvis, who cared for wounded soldiers during the American Civil War. Anna held Mother’s Day work clubs as a way to try and improve sanitary conditions and lower infant mortality and also organised Mother’s Friendship Day picnics in an attempt to unite former foes from the war.
However, it was her daughter Anna Jarvis who fought to have Mother Days recognised as a yearly event. The first celebration, as we know it, took place in 1908 when Anna held a memorial for her own mother, as a way to recognise her good deeds. The memorial took place at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia, and this same church now holds the International Mother’s Day shrine.
Following this, Anna started a public campaign to have Mother’s Day recognised as a public holiday in 1905, the year her own mother died. US Congress rejected her proposal in 1908, but by 1911 the day was observed by all US states. However, in the end, Anna become disillusioned by the holiday due to increasing commercialisation, and in fact she organised boycotts of the day itself. Anna argued that mothers should be honoured through personal expressions of love and gratitude, instead of through gifts and manufactured cards.
Traditional Mother’s Day gifts included flowers and fruit cake (known as simnel cake). It is thought that bread was also freshly baked for mothers on this day. Nowadays a popular way to celebrate is to have a family meal and also present mum with gifts and flowers. In Australia the chrysanthemum is traditionally given to mothers for Mother’s Day.
In the US and many other western countries, Mother’s Day is the second most popular holiday for exchanging gifts, behind Christmas. Therefore, the range of gifts ideas are now vast and include sentimental gifts, such as flowers, sleepwear and jewellery –
– as well as more expensive pamper gifts, such as spa treatments, posh meals and weekend breaks. Therefore, there is really no excuse not to buy your mum something! However, as Anna Jarvis realised, Mother’s Day is also a chance to honour mothers through kind words and thoughtful actions.
I hope however your family celebrates, you get a spoil and feel very loved this mother’s day – especially if it is your first mother’s day! Happy Mother’s Day to all you amazing Mum’s!
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