Historical Meaning Of Mother’s Day

Last Updated on February 14, 2021

This is a season of celebration for mothers around the world. I might be biased, but I believe Mother’s Day should be celebrated everyday. Having said that, as Mother’s Day quickly approaches, it’s time to find fun ways to celebrate Mothers everywhere. It’s also just as important to educate ourselves on the historical meaning of Mother’s Day, too! You’ll find great info and fun facts telling you all about the history of Mother’s Day! 

 

 

Continue reading and prepared to be amazed by my incredible fact-finding skills and to find the giveaway at the bottom of the post! 😉 

Who started Mother’s Day and why?

Mother’s Day originated in the United States in 1908, in my home state of West Virginia by Anna Jarvis (more about her later). Celebrations of mothers can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans who held celebrations in honor of their mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele. However, the clearest modern precedent was “Mothering Sunday,” celebrated in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe. It was a time when the faithful would return to their mother church – the church within their home town or closest church within the vicinity of their home – for a special service.  

(You can click to see how to make the Mother’s Day Flower pots!

Why do we celebrate Mother’s Day?

The main reason that we celebrate Mother’s Day now is to show love and appreciation to all the moms all over the world. It’s the one day a year that “thank you’s” and love are directed towards Moms for all their hard work. 

Spouses will use it as a day to say thank you to their wives for their dedication and care for their children and children will use it as a time to shower their moms with love. It’s a wonderful day where the focus is 100% on moms. 

 

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Which flower symbolizes Mother’s Day?

The flower that is most associated with Mother’s Day is the carnation. You’ll see this often as a single flower that is given to moms on Mother’s Day or can also be made into a nice corsage to wear or pin on.

Many florists will have this in bouquets as a symbol of the day or you can also easily order them individually. 

 

Do all countries celebrate Mother’s Day?

Mother’s Day is a pretty well-known and celebrated holiday that is celebrated all over the world. While it might not be celebrated in every country, it is celebrated in a lot of them. 

Keep in mind though that not all countries celebrate this day on the same day or even time of the year. That does vary depending on the country. 

Famous Mother’s Throughout History 

I could spend weeks naming famous mothers throughout history and I’m sure you can name a few right off the top of your head. In order to enhance our knowledge of the historical meaning of Mother’s Day, it’s important to know the ladies that brought it to light!  

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Rhea, Gaia, Cybele

From the 6th century B.C. onward, the Ancient Greeks honored the goddess Rhea as the Magna Mater, the great mother of everything. She was the wife of Chronos and the mother of Hestia, Hera, Demeter, Poseidon, Hades, and Zeus. Her father was Uranus (heavens), her mother Gaia (earth), with whom she was often identified.

In 205 B.C., her cult was introduced in Rome, where she was celebrated as Cybele during the Hilaria on the Ides of March.

Virgin Mary

In Christian times, Mother’s Day was a day in honor of the Virgin Mary and the Church. In 13th century England, Henry III of England (1216-1239) introduced “Mothering Sunday.” The Sunday before Easter, sons and daughters returned home to visit the church where they were baptized and worshiped as children.

This also meant that they returned to their (earthly) mothers and soon they, too, were honored with gifts, flowers, and special Mothering Day cakes or Simnel cakes.

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Julia Ward Howe

In addition to nature and Church, mothers also inspire peace. In 1870, the American author and suffragette Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910) called on all women to protest against the Franco-Prussian war. She tried to get formal recognition for a Mother’s Day for Peace. This didn’t quite catch on, but it inspired the West Virginian Anna Jarvis (1864-1948).

Who first celebrated Mother’s Day?

Anna Jarvis is known as the Mother of Mother’s Day.

She was a childless spinster who wanted to honor her mother, who lost 7 of her 11 children, but converted her sorrow into charitable works. When her mother died on May 9, 1905, Anna and the leaders of her church in Crafton, West Virginia, decided to hold the first Mother’s Day on the 2nd Sunday of May 1908, three years after her mother’s death. Anna went on to relentlessly promote Mother’s Day by writing over 10,000 letters to newspapers, businesses, church leaders and politicians. In 1910 the Governor of West Virginia proclaimed it a state holiday. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

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Mother’s Day Shopping

Mother’s Day is the fourth largest shopping holiday in the US with consumers spending around $11.5 billion per year. If that amount of chocolates and flowers is any indication, we still love our mothers very much!

It’s not hard to tell that it’s a huge holiday in the United States based upon the number of commercials and advertisements leading up to the holiday.

And if you set foot in a store, you’re going to notice that there are aisles dedicated to gifts, cards, stuffed animals and other assortments of sweets and treats for a wide variety of moms. 

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Which holiday sells the most cards?

While this might be a trick question, it’s actually not Mother’s Day that has the record. Christmas and Valentine’s Day hold the two top spots. But rest assured, Mother’s Day cards are third on the list for top holiday card sellers.

This makes sense due to the fact that it’s not a holiday where people typically travel and get together like an Easter celebration or Christmas party. Therefore, purchasing and mailing a card to mom is the next best thing. 

Now that you know a little bit about the historical meaning of Mother’s Day, it’s time to begin preparations and planning how you’ll celebrate your mom, grandmother, aunt, motherly figure, friend who is a mother, or someone special in your life. From card buying to making her favorite meal, there are always ways that you can show your mom just how special she is to you.

And if you’re a mom, Happy Mother’s Day to all of you and may your day be filled with love, family, and happiness. Being a mom is one of the best feelings in the world and having an entire day filled with love is perfect!

Know that you know the historical meaning of Mother’s Day, how do you plan on celebrating? 

 

 

Halfway Homesteaders