Mother's Day History And Origin - The Real Story Behind The Origin Of Mother's Day Celebrations

by VioletteRose

Mother's Day falls on the second Sunday of May every year. Read to know all information about the true history behind the origin of Mother's Day celebrations all around the world.

Many of us celebrate Mother's Day day by doing something special for mothers or sometimes calling and wishing her a special day. I was curious to know how all these celebrations started and especially the difference between a Mother's Day and a Mothering Sunday. Here is what I have learnt so far about the origin of these celebrations.

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Early Celebrations For Mothers

In Ancient Greece

The origin of the celebrations dedicated to mothers can be traced back to the celebrations in Greece that were meant for their mother goddess Rhea. In Greek mythology, goddess Rhea had great importance as she was the mother of many Greek deities and the Greeks used to celebrate a festival in her name during the time of spring. As the spring time is always associated with new beginnings and life and birth, spring also became the perfect time for celebrating motherhood.

In Ancient Rome

Cybele was the mother goddess of ancient Romans, and just like the Greeks, Romans too celebrated a spring festival in Cybele's name. This festival was known as Hilaria and the celebrations fell on the first day after vernal equinox, which was also the first day of the year when the day was longer than the night.

In Other Parts Of The World

In many ancient cultures and religions, mother goddesses were always worshipped and celebrations were carried out on their behalf. In Indian culture and Egyptian culture, great importance is given for mother goddesses. Similar ancient beliefs and practices can be observed in other cultures like Celtic, Germanic and Slavic mythologies and also among the Turkic Siberians.

The Origin And History Of Mothering Sunday And Mother's Day

The celebrations by Greeks and Romans I mentioned above, were carried out so many years back. It is believed that these celebrations were there even before the birth of Jesus Christ.

Mothering Sunday In Britain

However, the origin of Mothering Sunday has a different story. Ancient Christians in England started celebrating the fourth Sunday of Lent on behalf of Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. In churches special prayers were conducted on that day. During those times it was common to send children for labour so that they could earn and support their family. Later on, children who went away from their family to work for an earning, were given a day off in spring, probably the fourth Sunday of Lent, to participate in the annual prayers in their church and also to visit their mothers. This was widely accepted, and it became a British tradition to dedicate a day, the Mothering Sunday, to honour all mothers. The records of this tradition can be traced back to as early as the 17th century.  While the children came to visit their mothers and their churches once a year, they brought flowers and a kind of fruit cake called simnel cake along with them, probably as a gift to their mothers and for the celebrations in church.

Mother's Day in America

Mother's Day is different from the Mothering Sunday, although the concept looks the same, and it was Anna Jarvis, an activist and a social worker, who introduced Mother's Day in America during the beginning of the 20th Century.  The mother of Anna Jarvis died on the 9th of May in 1906 and the next year, Anna Jarvis expressed her wish to introduce Mother's Day to honour all the mothers. The idea spread very fast and the governor in Pennsylvania declared second Sunday in the month of May as Mother's Day. Years back, another activist named Julia Ward Howe worked hard to introduce Mother's Day in America. Even though her idea was well received, no official Mother's Day was declared by the Government at that time. Anna Jarvis is known as the mother of Mother's Day. She never married and didn't have any children.

As a result of Anna Jarvis's efforts and the declaration of Mother's Day in Pennsylvania, in 1913 Mother's Day was officially declared by the U S Government across all the states.

However, by the time America declared Mother's Day, the tradition of celebrating Mothering Sunday was almost forgotten in Britain.

Beautiful And Loving Gifts For Mom

Revival Of Mothering Sunday Celebrations In Britain

During the time of second world war, American service men, in large numbers, arrived in East Anglia in the Great Britain. This was because East Anglia was the perfect location to be used as an air base during the time of world war. Even though the British themselves didn't have any celebrations meant for mothers at that time, the Americans who came to East Anglia used to celebrate Mother's Day in England, during their stay there. This in turn influenced the British, and due to the cultural influence, the tradition was gradually passed on to the British as well, where it was widely welcomed and they reverted back to the celebrations on the fourth Sunday of Lent.

Celebrations Today

Today, Mother's Day is celebrated globally, although different countries celebrate the day on different dates. Even though the dates may differ, most of the Mother's Day celebrations around the world fall on the spring season.  Do you know who is considered as the most ancient mother goddess? That is Mother Earth, who nurtures and sustains all the life forms that live in her.


Personalized (Customizable) Mother's Day Cards From Zazzle

A mother has kindness and love in her heart for all the children. She loves her children unconditionally and tries to guide her children in the right direction.  She cares for her children's well being  on top of her own wellness and she forgives them for their mistakes. She wishes peace and love around the world.

The world have always seen so many great mothers all the time in history and still there are so many out there,  who may or may not have given birth, but have a heart that is kind and loves all the children. It can be the birth mother, it can be the adoptive mother or it can be someone who cared for you and stood for you and listened to you with motherly affection when you just needed a heart to listen to you. Let her love and kindness guide every one in the right direction!

Did you know about the history and origin of Mother's Day?

Vintage Picture Of Mother And Child

A Mother's Love

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Updated: 08/06/2016, VioletteRose
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VioletteRose on 05/15/2015

Thanks so much for reading Sheila Herrington :)

CruiseReady on 05/07/2015

How nice to learn about the origins of Mother's Day and Mothering Sunday. Quite informative, and today was a nice day to read it, just before Mother's Day.

VioletteRose on 05/05/2014

Thank you :)

WriterArtist on 04/29/2014

Wonderful article on the origin of Mother's Day, it is always good to know and learn something new.

VioletteRose on 04/27/2014

Hi Kathleen Duffy, I am so glad you found this article lovely, thank you so much! I always believe the motherly feeling and affection should come from within the heart.

VioletteRose on 04/27/2014

Thank you so much for reading and for the feedback Mira :)

VioletteRose on 04/27/2014

Thank you so much for reading and commenting DerdriuMarriner! I am glad you found this lovely and thanks for sharing the way you feel about your maternal aunt, she definitely is a wonderful woman!

KathleenDuffy on 04/26/2014

Absolutely lovely article. And like Derdriu I was very touched that you included women who were not mothers. Very interesting about the American GIs and mother's day in the UK. Thank you!

Mira on 04/26/2014

What a wonderful article, Violette!

DerdriuMarriner on 04/26/2014

VioletteRose, Your tribute to mothers is lovely. I also appreciate these words you write:
"The world have always seen so many great mothers all the time in history and still there are so many out there, who may or may not have given birth, but have a heart that is kind and loves all the children. It can be the birth mother, it can be the adoptive mother or it can be someone who cared for you and stood for you and listened to you with motherly affection when you just needed a heart to listen to you. Let her love and kindness guide every one in the right direction!"
Me, too, I agree that there are those who inspire us with the equivalent of motherly affection even though they themselves have never been mothers. My beloved maternal aunt, a single woman who was a wonderful teacher, was a fantastic, loving role model for me; she was beautiful, compassionate, fun, thoughtful, wise.

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