The history of Mother’s Day in the US started on May 12th, 1908. That was when Anna Jarvis began campaigning for a day to honor mothers worldwide. After the United States adopted it in 1914, other countries followed suit. It is celebrated on the second Sunday of May in the US but other countries use different dates.
A look at historical records will show that ancient people also set aside days for mothers. The exact origin of this practice is unknown. However, some historians believe it arose from an early form of earth goddess worship.
There is evidence the Romans had their own version of Mother’s Day called Matronalia. This was a day dedicated to the goddess Juno. Mothers were special to her. For this reason, the day was marked by gift giving to mothers.
Several European countries have always put aside a Sunday just for mothers. This day is known as Laetare Sunday. The chosen Sunday would vary, but among Catholics it was the fourth Sunday at Lent.
This date was actually intended for the Virgin Mary and the mother church. But the history of Mother’s Day shows it became an occasion to celebrate motherhood.
Today many countries use the date on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Besides the United Kingdom, other European countries also celebrate Mother’s Day on this date.
Mother’s Day in Africa and the Middle East
The day is celebrated in many African countries. The modern concept of Mother’s Day was adopted from the British. The way it is celebrated varies per country. Usually it is a mixture of local customs with some European elements included. In many Arab countries the day is celebrated on March 12.
Bangladesh and Bolivia
The day is celebrated on the 2nd Sunday of May in Bangladesh. It is marked by special programs prepared by the government. There are also cultural programs organized by non-government groups. Like in other western countries, greeting cards and flowers are given to mothers.
In Bolivia the day is commemorated on May 27. The history of Mother’s Day in Bolivia is linked to the Battle of Coronilla (May 27, 1812). During the Bolivian War of Independence, many female freedom fighters were killed. Thus, the day is both in honor of mothers and Bolivian women.
Greece and India
In Greece it is held on the second Sunday of May. The day is marked by the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple (this is an Eastern Orthodox Church tradition). As with the fourth Sunday of Lent, the religious event became associated with mothers.
In India the day is celebrated on August 19. The day is also the festival of Pathare Prabhu. The day is celebrated in different ways throughout India. Unlike other cultures, the event is commemorated using local customs.
Since the history of Mother’s Day began, the day has become a global event. Although the dates vary, the meaning is the same throughout the world. It is the day of the year that is designed to give mothers the recognition due them.