I love my Mammy
The modern Mother's Day holiday was created by Anna Jarvis as a day for each family to honor its mother, and it's now celebrated on various days in many places around the world. It complements Father's Day, the celebration honoring fathers.
This holiday is relatively modern, being created at the start of the 20th century, and should not be confused with the early pagan and Christian traditions honoring mothers, or with the 16th century celebration of Mothering Sunday, which is also known as Mother's Day in the UK.
In most countries the Mother's Day celebration is a recent holiday derived from the original US celebration. Exceptions are, for example, the Mothering Sunday holiday in the UK.
Different countries celebrate Mother's Day on various days of the year because the day has a number of different origins.
One school of thought claims this day emerged from a custom of mother worship in ancient Greece, which kept a festival to Cybele, a great mother of Greek gods. This festival was held around the Vernal Equinox around Asia Minor and eventually in Rome itself from the Ides of March (15 March) to 18 March.
The ancient Romans also had another holiday, Matronalia, that was dedicated to Juno, though mothers were usually given gifts on this day.
In addition to Mother's Day, International Women's Day is celebrated in many countries on March 8.
In 1912, Anna Jarvis trademarked the phrases "second Sunday in May" and "Mother's Day", and created the Mother's Day International Association.
"She was specific about the location of the apostrophe; it was to be a singular possessive, for each family to honour their mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world."
This is also the spelling used by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in the law making official the holiday in the U.S., by the U.S. Congress on bills, and by other U.S. presidents on their declarations.
Common usage in English language also dictates that the ostensibly singular possessive "Mother's Day" is the preferred spelling.
Great Britain and Ireland
Mothering Sunday is a Christian festival celebrated throughout Europe. Secularly it is used as a celebration of motherhood, and is synonymous with Mother's Day as celebrated in other countries; the latter name is also increasingly used.
A religious festival celebrating motherhood has been existent in Europe since approximately 250 BC when the Romans honoured the mother goddess Cybele during mid-March. As the Roman Empire and Europe converted to Christianity, Mothering Sunday celebrations became part of the liturgical calendar as Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday in Lent to honour the Virgin Mary and the "mother church".
During the sixteenth century, people returned to their mother church for a service to be held on Laetare Sunday. This was either a large local church, or more often the nearest Cathedral. Anyone who did this was commonly said to have gone "a-mothering", although whether this preceded the term Mothering Sunday is unclear. It was often the only time that whole families could gather together, if prevented by conflicting working hours.
The Epistle for the fourth Sunday in Lent as set out in the Book of Common Prayer gives a special place to the theme of maternal love: Galatians 4:26 states that "Jerusalem which is above is free; which is Mother of us all."
The other names attributed to this festival include Simnel Sunday, Refreshment Sunday and Rose Sunday. Simnel Sunday is named after the practice of baking Simnel cakes to celebrate the reuniting of families during the austerity of Lent. Because there is traditionally a lightening of Lenten vows on this particular Sunday in celebration of the fellowship of family and church, the lesser-used label of Refreshment Sunday is also used, although rarely today.
Rose Sunday is sometimes used as an alternative title for Mothering Sunday as well, as is witnessed by the purple robes of Lent being replaced in some churches by rose-coloured ones. This title refers to the tradition of posies of flowers being collected and distributed at the service originally to all the mothers, but latterly to all women in the congregation. The 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, however, asserts that "the Golden Rose, sent by the Popes to Catholic sovereigns, used to be blessed at this time, and for this reason the day was sometimes called 'Dominica de Rosa'."
This Sunday was also once known as "the Sunday of the Five Loaves", from the traditional Gospel reading for the day. Prior to the adoption of the modern "common" lectionaries, the Gospel reading for this Sunday in the Anglican, Roman Catholic, Western-Rite Orthodox, and Old Catholic churches was the story of the feeding of the five thousand (for instance, the Anglican Book of Common Prayer stipulates St John's Gospel 6:5-14).
Another tradition associated with Mothering Sunday is the practice of "clipping the church", whereby the congregation form a ring around their church building and, holding hands, embrace it.
For some Church of England churches, it is the only day in Lent when marriages can be celebrated.
In later times, Mothering Sunday became a day when domestic servants were given a day off to visit their mothers and other family members.
Mothering Sunday remains in the calendar of some Canadian Anglican churches, particularly those with strong English connections.
A selection of handmade Mother's Day gifts.
Mother's Day (North America)
Mother's Day holiday, in the United States and Canada, celebrates motherhood generally and the positive contributions of mothers to society. It falls on the second Sunday of each May. It is the result of a campaign by Anna Marie Jarvis (1864–1948), who, following the death of her mother on May 9, 1905, devoted her life to establishing Mother's Day as a national, and later an international, holiday. The first observances of both Mother's Day and Father's Day were held in the state of West Virginia.
"Mothering Sunday" in the UK and Ireland is on the fourth Sunday of Lent. It was originally a time when Catholics were supposed to travel to attend Mass in their "Mother Church" (the regional cathedral) rather than in their local parish. By the Reformation, it had changed into an occasion for children to visit parents. An 1854 source mentions a couplet: "On 'Mothering Sunday,' above all other/Every child should dine with its mother."
"Mother's Day Work Clubs" organized by Anna Jarvis's mother, Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis (1832-1905), to improve sanitation and health in the area. These clubs also assisted both Union and Confederate encampments controlling a typhoid outbreak, and conducted a "Mothers' Friendship Day" to reconcile families divided by the Civil War.
The "Mother's Day" anti-war observances founded by Julia Ward Howe in 1872, it did not take root. It continued in Boston for about ten years under Howe's personal financial sponsorship, then died out.
Julia Ward Howe's Mother's Day, celebrated on June 2nd, was first proclaimed around 1870 by Julia Ward Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation, and Howe called for it to be observed each year nationally in 1872. As originally envisioned, Howe's "Mother's Day" was a call for pacifism and disarmament by women. See Mother's Day Proclamation.
Early "Mother's Day" was mostly marked by women's peace groups. A common early activity was the meeting of groups of mothers whose sons had fought or died on opposite sides of the American Civil War.
The first known observance of Mother's Day in the U.S. occurred in Albion, Michigan, on May 13, 1877, the second Sunday of the month. According to local legend, Albion pioneer, Juliet Calhoun Blakeley, stepped up to complete the sermon of the Rev. Myron Daughterty, who was distraught because an anti-temperance group had forced his son and two other temperance advocates to spend the night in a saloon and become publicly drunk. In the pulpit, Blakeley called on other mothers to join her. Blakeley's two sons, both travelling salesmen, were so moved that they vowed to return each year to pay tribute to her and embarked on a campaign to urge their business contacts to do likewise. At their urging, in the early 1880s, the Methodist Episcopal Church in Albion set aside the second Sunday in May to recognize the special contributions of mothers.
On February 4, 1904, South Bend, Indiana resident Frank E. Hering made the first Public Plea and started his own campaign for a national observance of "Mother's Day" in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Jarvis's Mother's Day
In 1907, Mother's Day was first celebrated in a small, private way by Anna Marie Reinoehl in Grafton, West Virginia, to commemorate the anniversary of her mother's death two years earlier on May 9, 1905. Reinoehls's mother, named Anna Maria Reeves Jarvis, had been active in Mother's Day campaigns for peace and worker's safety and health since end of American Civil War. The younger Jarvis launched a quest to get wider recognition of Mother's Day. The celebration organized by Jarvis on May 10, 1908 involved 407 children with their mothers at the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton (this church is now the Mother's Day Shrine). Grafton is, thus, the place recognized as the birthplace of Mother's Day.
The subsequent campaign to recognize Mother's Day was financed by clothing merchant John Wanamaker. As the custom of Mother's Day spread, the emphasis shifted from the pacifism and reform movements to a general appreciation of mothers. The first official recognition of the holiday was by West Virginia in 1910. A proclamation designating the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day was signed by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson on May 14, 1914.