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The History of Mother’s Day May Surprise You

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.

  • Thailand. The holiday is celebrated in August, on Queen Sirikit’s birthday.
  • Ethiopia. Families get together in the fall, sing songs, and eat a huge feast. It’s part of Antrosht, a several-day celebration that honors motherhood.
  • China. The Chinese celebration of mothers is very similar to the way we celebrate in the United States, with cards, gifts, and flowers. It’s even observed on the same day.
  • France. The French observe Mother’s Day on the last Sunday in May, unless it falls on Pentecost, in which case it would be celebrated on the first Sunday in June. It began as a way to honor mothers who had lost a son or husband in World War I.

Honor the mother in your life

Celebrate the special woman you love with a surprise that will knock her socks off – with a bathroom redo!

Making a cozy, plush area for her to pamper herself in will be the gift that keeps on giving for many years to come.

Give your trusted contractor a call and find out what your options are for giving the perfect gift to your loved one.

For help remodeling your home, contact your local experts VKB Kitchen and Bath.