Mother’s Day Facts, Trivia , and Lore
Mother’s Day is an annual holiday intended to recognize the important contribution that mothers make to their families and society as a whole. In Canada and the United States it is celebrated on the second Sunday of every May and the traditional gift for mom is flowers. So here are some facts about this holiday honoring those that play such an important role in each of our lives.
Facts About Mothers Day From Long Ago
- The earliest Mother’s Day celebrations can be traced back to the spring celebrations of ancient Greece in honor of Rhea, the Mother of the Gods.
- During the 1600’s, England celebrated a day called “Mothering Sunday”, celebrated on the 4th Sunday of Lent. This was a time put aside for relaxation and enjoyment during the long Lenten fast. Servants would go home to see their families, bringing cakes and sweets to their moms. This custom was called “going a-mothering”. Each mother would receive a simnel-cake (Latin for “fine flour) and mother’s would give a blessing to their children.
- Other lore relates that centuries ago it was considered important for people to return to their home or “mother” church once a year. So every year during Lent, people would visit their “mother” church, generally the main church or Cathedral of the area.
The history behind Mothers Day
Early “Mother’s Day” in the US was mostly recognized by woman’s peace groups. An early activity was the meeting of groups of mothers whose sons had served or died on opposite sides of the American Civil War. There were local celebrations in the 1870s and the 1880s, but nothing to speak of on a state or national basis.
In 1868 Ann Jarvis created a committee to establish a “Mother’s Friendship Day” whose purpose was “to reunite families that had been divided during the Civil War”, and she wanted to expand it into an annual memorial for mothers, but she died in 1905 before the celebration became popular, later her daughter Anna Jarvis would continue her efforts.
Julia Howe, who had written The Battle Hymn of the Republic, organized a “Mother’s Day” antiwar observance in New York city on June 2nd, 1872. The observance continued in Boston for about 10 years under Howe’s personal sponsorship before losing momentum. It is rumored that she had hoped to convert July 4, America’s Independence Day into Mother’s Day, to dedicate that day to peace.
Several years later, a Mother’s Day observance was held in Albion, Michigan on May 13, 1877 over a dispute related to the Temperance movement. Later in the early 1880’s the Methodist Episcopal Church in Albion set aside the second Sunday in May to recognize the special contributions of mothers.
In 1904 Frank E Hering of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, made the first recorded public plea for “a national day to honor mothers”. It was not until 1914 that President Woodrow Wilson signed the orders that made Mother’s Day a national holiday in the United States, due largely to the continued efforts of Anna Jarvis (daughter of Ann Jarvis). She asked that white carnations be the official mother’s day symbol.
In Canada we celebrate Mothers Day on the same day as the United States, the second Sunday of every May.
Mother’s Day Around The World
Today Mother’s Day is celebrated in almost 50 countries around the world. However it is celebrated on different days in the month of May; and in some countries at entirely different times of the year. In today’s world Mothers Day has come to be internationally recognized as the day to honor all mothers. To thank them for not only the love they give but the sacrifices they make that benefit their own children and consequently to the betterment of society.
In most countries, Mother’s Day is a recent observance derived from the holiday as it has evolved in North America and Europe. When it was adopted by other countries and cultures, it was given different meanings, associated to different events (religious, historical or legendary), and celebrated sometimes on different dates.
Some countries already had existing celebrations honoring motherhood, and their celebrations have adopted several characteristics of the United States holiday, like giving flowers (often carnations) and other gifts to one’s mother.
- In France Mother’s Day is referred to as Fete des Meres. Mother’s Day is celebrated on the last Sunday in May and is treated more like a family birthday. Families gather for a special meal.
- In Spain Mother’s Day is celebrated on the 8th of December. It is closely associated with Mother Mary – the mother of Jesus.
- In Sweden Mother’s Day is on the last Sunday in May and is a family holiday. The Swedish Red Cross sells small plastic flowers on the days leading up to Mother’s Day and the money raised is used to help needy mothers and their children.
- In Yugoslavia on “Materitse,” “Materice,” or Mother’s Day, the children tie up their mother, releasing her only when she has paid them to do so with sweets or other goodies.
- In India Mother’s Day is celebrated nationally on 19 August.
Interesting Mother’s Day Trivia
- An AT&T survey estimated that 122.5 million phone calls to Mom are made on Mother’s Day. Other Mother’s Day findings revealed that 11 percent of people never call their mothers, and 3 percent of the 68 percent planning to ring Mom up called her collect.
- In the vast majority of the languages worldwide, the word for “mother” begins with the letter M. It appears somethings are almost universal.
- The carnation is the flower most often associated with Mother’s Day. Red and pink carnations for moms who are still living, and white carnations for mothers that have passed away. According to a legend, this association goes back to the passion of the Christ. Seeing Christ’s sufferings, his mother Mary shed tears, which fell on the ground. These tears are supposed to have turned into the fragrant and beautiful carnations.
- Mother’s Day accounts for one-fourth of the flowers purchased for holidays. About one-third (32%) of adults (37% of men; 27% of women) bought flowers or plants as gifts for Mother’s Day 2009.
- Americans will spent an average of $123.89 per person 1n 2009, compared to $138.63 in 2008. Total Mother’s Day spending is expected to reach $14.10 billion. The majority of people (66.8%) will buy flowers for mom, spending a total of $1.9 billion on those purchases. Slightly more than half (54.8%) will treat mom to a outing such as dinner or brunch, for a total of $2.7 billion. About $2.3 billion will be spent on jewelry, $1.5 billion on gift cards, $1.2 billion on clothing or clothing accessories, and $1.1 million on personal services such as a day at the spa. In addition, consumers will spend $857 million on electronics or computer-related accessories, $587 million on housewares and gardening tools, and $487 million on books or CDs.
(Courtesy of Grower Direct)