Mother’s Day has been used for festivals honoring the mother goddess usually in the Spring, to mothers that have passed away, to mothers having “the day off” from daily activities & receiving flowers & small gifts from their children & family.
Mother’s Day origins go back to the ancient Greeks & Romans honoring the mother goddess. It wasn’t until the late 1800s that Mother’s Day in the United States even hinted at being a thing, Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia helped start “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to teach local women how to properly care for their children. In 1868 Jarvis organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” at which mothers gathered with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation.
Juliet Calhoun Blakely, a temperance activist who inspired a local Mother’s Day in Albion, Michigan, in the 1870s. The duo of Mary Towles Sasseen and Frank Hering, meanwhile, both worked to organize a Mothers’ Day in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some have even called Hering “the father of Mothers’ Day.” & it wasn’t until the official Mother’s Day holiday arose in the 1900s as a result of the efforts of Anna Jarvis, daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis. Following her mother’s 1905 death, Anna Jarvis conceived of Mother’s Day as a way of honoring the sacrifices mothers made for their children, and it became a country-wide holiday for mothers.
At one time the woman who rallied for the holiday in the United States wanted it removed from the American calendar. Why? While Jarvis had initially worked with the floral industry to help raise Mother’s Day’s profile, by 1920 she had become disgusted with how the holiday had been commercialized. She outwardly denounced the transformation and urged people to stop buying Mother’s Day flowers, cards, and candies.
Originally it was the 8th Sunday after lent. At one point it was somewhere between March & June, each year it fell at a different time. June 2 was a date that was used for Mother’s Day & then it settled on the Sunday of the first full weekend in May. After that came other holidays for family members, Father’s Day, Grandparent’s Day, and Siblings Day. However, the most widely recognized is Mother’s Day than Father’s Day in the United States. In Scotland (possibly the UK), Mother’s Day is celebrated in March.
In the United States, Mother’s Day continues to be celebrated by presenting mothers and other women with gifts and flowers, and it has become one of the biggest holidays for consumer spending. Families also celebrate by giving mothers a day off from activities like cooking or other household chores.
At times, Mother’s Day has also been a date for launching political or feminist causes. In 1968 Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King, Jr., used Mother’s Day to host a march in support of underprivileged women and children. In the 1970s women’s groups also used the holiday as a time to highlight the need for equal rights and access to childcare.
While versions of Mother’s Day are celebrated worldwide, traditions vary depending on the country. In Thailand, for example, Mother’s Day is always celebrated in August on the birthday of the current queen, Sirikit. Another alternate observance of Mother’s Day can be found in Ethiopia, where families gather each fall to sing songs and eat a large feast as part of Antrosht, a multi-day celebration honoring motherhood.