How is Mother's Day celebrated around the world?08-05-2011
The modern Mother's Day is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, most commonly in March, April, or May as a day to honor mothers and motherhood.
Celebrations of mothers and motherhood occur throughout the world; many of these have histories can be traced back to ancient festivals. There is evidence of mother goddess worship in the ancient world, dating back as far as 6.000 BC, and many mother goddess shrines could be found in ancient times in Asia minor.
Ancient Greece imported the Mother Goddess cult from Asia Minor, in the form of a festival to Cybele, a great mother of Greek gods. It was held around the Vernal Equinox around Asia Minor. Originally they identified Cybele with Rhea, the mother of gods. The details were not recorded, and we only know that the goddess was attended by galli.
Dates around the world
As the US holiday was adopted by other countries and cultures, the date was changed to fit already existing celebrations honouring motherhood, like Mothering Sunday in the UK or, in Greece, the Orthodox celebration of the presentation of Jesus to the temple (February 2). In some countries it was changed to dates that were significant to the majority religion, like the Virgin Mary day in Catholic countries, or the birthday of the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad in Islamic countries. Other countries changed it to historical dates, like Bolivia using the date of a certain battle where women participated. See the "International history and traditions" section for the complete list.
International history and traditions
In most countries, Mother's Day is a recent observance derived from the holiday as it has evolved in America. When it was adopted by other countries and cultures, it was given different meanings, associated to different events (religious, historical or legendary), and celebrated in a different date or dates.
Some countries already had existing celebrations honoring motherhood, and their celebrations have adopted several external characteristics from the US holiday, like giving carnations and other presents to your own mother.
The extent of the celebrations varies greatly. In some countries, it is potentially offensive to one's mother not to mark Mother's Day. In others, it is a little-known festival celebrated mainly by immigrants, or covered by the media as a taste of foreign culture (compare the celebrations of Diwali in the UK and the United States).
In the Catholic Church, the holiday is strongly associated with reverencing the Virgin Mary.
In Hindu tradition it is called "Mata Tirtha Aunshi" or "Mother Pilgrimage fortnight", and it is celebrated in countries with Hindu population, especially in Nepal. It is celebrated on the new moon day in the month of Baisakh i.e. April/May. This holiday is based in Hindu religion and it pre-dates the creation of the Western-inspired holiday by at least a few centuries.
Some Islamic scholars have published fatwas against dedicating a single day to honor mothers, which detracts from honoring them year round as ordered by the Quran.
Many African countries adopted the idea of one Mother's Day from the British tradition, although there are many festivals and events celebrating mothers within the many diverse cultures on the African continent that long pre-date the colonization of Africa by European powers.
Mother's Day in most of Arab countries is celebrated on March 21. It was introduced in Egypt by journalist Mustafa Aminin his book 1943. The idea was overlooked at the time, but when Amin heard the story of a widowed mother who devoted her whole life to raise her son until he became a doctor, got married and left without showing her any gratitude, Amin became motivated to promote for "Mother's Day". The idea was first ridiculed by president Gamal Abdel Nasser but he eventually accepted it and Mother's Day was first celebrated on the 21st of March 1956. The practice has since been copied by the other Arab countries.
In Afghanistan, Mother's Day was celebrated on June 12, 2010, on the second Saturday in June.
In Australia, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. It is not a public holiday, nor is it known as a holiday. The tradition of gift giving to mothers on Mother's Day in Australia was started by Mrs Janet Heyden, a resident of Leichhardt Sydney, in 1924. She began the tradition during a visit to a patient at the Newington State Home for Women, where she met many lonely and forgotten mothers. To cheer them up, she rounded up support from local school children and businesses to donate and bring gifts to the women. Every year thereafter, more support was raised by Janet with local businesses and even the local Mayor. The day has since become commercialized as it is to this day.
In Bangladesh, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of the month of May. In observance of the day discussion programs are organized by government and non-governmental organizations. Reception programs, cultural programs are organized to mark the day in the Capital city. Television channels aired special programs and newspapers published special features and column to mark the day. Greeting cards, flowers and gifts featuring mother’s specialty to the children were on high demand at the shops and markets.8 May.
In Bolivia, Mother's Day is celebrated on May 27. The Dia de la Madre Boliviana was passed into law on November 8, 1927, during the presidency of Hernando Siles Reyes. It commemorates the Battle of Coronilla, which took place on May 27, 1812, during the Bolivian War of Independence, in what is now the city of Cochabamba. In this battle, women fighting for the country's independence were slaughtered by the Spanish army. It's not a festive day, but all schools make activities and festivities during this day. "Ma Dibos"
In Brazil, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May.
The first Mother's Day in the country was promoted by Associação Cristã de Moços de Porto Alegre (Young Men's Christian Association of Porto Alegre), on May 12, 1918. In 1932, the then-President Getulio Vargas made official the date on the second Sunday of May. In 1947, Archbishop Jaime de Barros Chamber, Cardinal-Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, determined that this date was also included in the official calendar of the Catholic Church.
In Bulgaria, Mother's Day is celebrated on March 8, as part of the International Women's Day.
See also Other observances in Canada
Mother's Day in Canada is celebrated on the second Sunday in May (it is not however, a public holiday or bank holiday), and typically involves small celebrations and gift-giving to one's mother, grandmother, or other important female figures in one's family. Celebratory practices are very similar to those of other western nations, such as Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The day is becoming more popular in China, and carnations are a very popular gift and the most sold type of flower. In 1997 it was set as the day to help poor mothers, specially to remind people of the poor mothers in rural areas such as China's western region. In the People's Daily, the Chinese government's official newspaper, an article explained that "despite originating in the United States, people in China take the holiday with no hesitance because it goes in line with the country's traditional ethics – respect to the elderly and filial piety to parents."
In recent years the Communist Party member Li Hanqiu began to advocate for the official adoption of Mother's Day in memory of Meng Mu, the mother of Mèng Zǐ, and formed a non-governmental organization called Chinese Mothers' Festival Promotion Society, with the support of 100 Confucian scholars and lecturers of ethics. They also ask to replace the Western gift of carnations with lilies, which, in ancient times, were planted by Chinese mothers when children left home. It remains an unofficial festival, except in a small number of cities.
Czech Republic celebrated Women's Day until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. After the split of the country in 1993, the Czech republic started celebrating Mother's Day and Saint Valentine's Day. However, the Czechs saw those two celebrations as commercialized and artificial, and they had mild popularity. Nowadays, the sales of flowers in Women's Day are approaching those in Mother's Day or S. Valentine's Day.
In France, alarmed by the low natality, there had been attempts in 1896 and 1904 to make a national celebration honoring the mothers of large families. American WWI soldiers fighting in France popularized the US holiday created by Ann Jarvis; they sent so much mail back to their country in Mother's Day that the Union franco-américaine created a postal card for that purpose. In 1918, also inspired by Jarvis, the town of Lyon wanted to celebrate a "journée des Mères", but it finally decided to celebrate a "Journée Nationale des Mères de familles nombreuses", which was more inspired in the anti-depopulation efforts than in the US holiday, with medals being awarded to the mothers of large families. The French government officialised the day in 1920 as a day for mothers of large families.
In 1941, by initiative of Philippe Pétain, the wartime Vichy government celebrated it as part of their policy to encourage larger families; but all mothers were now being honored, even the ones who had small families.The law of 24 May 1950 required that the Republic pay official homage to French Mothers on the last Sunday in May as the "Fête des Mères". A budget was provided for the celebration in 1956, and responsibility was transferred to the Minister responsible for Families in 2004. During the 1950s the celebration lost all its patriotic and natalist ideologies, and it became heavily commercialized.
In the 1920s Germany had the lowest birthrate in Europe, and it was still declining. It was attributed to women's participation in the labor market. At the same time, all influential groups in society (politicians in both Left and Right, churchwomen and feminists) thought that mothers should be honored, but they couldn't agree on how to do it. All those groups agreed strongly in the promotion of the values of motherhood. This resulted in the unanimous adoption in 1923 of the Muttertag, the Mother's Day holiday as imported from America and Norway. The head of the Association of German Florists cited "the inner conflict of our Volk and the loosening of the family" as his reason for introducing the holiday, and he expected that it would unite the divided country. In 1925 the Mother's Day Committee joined the Task Force for the recovery of the volk, and the holiday stopped depending on commercial interests and it started being about the level of population Germany.
The holiday was now seen as a means to get the women to bear more children, and nationalists saw it as a way of rejuvenating the nation. The holiday didn't celebrate the individual women, but an idealized standard of motherhood. The progressive forces resisted the implementation of the holiday because it was backed by so many conservatives, and because they saw it as a way to cut the rights of the worker women. Die Frau, the newspaper of the Federation of German Women's Associations, refused to even recognize the holiday. Many local authorities made their own interpretation of the holiday: it would be a day to support economically larger families or single-mother families. The guidelines for the subsidies had eugenics criteria, but there is no indication that social workers ever implemented them in practice, and subsidies were given preferentially to families in economic needs rather that families with more children or with "healthier" children.
With the Nazi party in power during 1933–1945, this all changed radically. The propaganda for Mother's Day had increased in many European countries, including England and France, and Nazis increased it from the moment they entered into power. The role of mothers was unambiguously promoted as that of giving healthy sons to the German Nation. The Nazi party's intention was creating a pure "Aryan race" according to the nazi eugenics. Among other Mother's Day ideas, the government promoted the death of your sons in battle as the highest embodiment of patriotic motherhood.
The Nazis quickly declared Mother's Day an official holiday and put it under the control of the NSV (National Socialist People's Welfare Association) and the NSF (National Socialist Women Organization). This brought conflicts with other organizations that resented Nazi control of the holiday, like the Catholic and the Protestant churches and local women organizations. Local authorities continuously resisted the guidelines from the Nazi government and kept assigning resources to families that were in economical need, much to the dismay of the Nazi officials.
The government started issuing in 1938, an award called Mother's Cross (Mutterkreuz), with different categories depending on the number of children. The cross intended to encouraging having more children, and recipients had to have at least 4 children. For example, a gold cross recipient (a level one) had to have eight children or more. Since having fewer children was a recent development, the gold cross was awarded mostly to elderly mothers with grown children. It promoted loyalty among German women and it was a popular award even if it had little material awards and it was mostly empty praise. The recipients of honors had to be examined by doctors and social workers according to genetic and racial values that were considered beneficial to the volk. The friends and family were also examined for possible flaws that could disqualify them, and they had to be racially and morally fit. They had to be "German-blooded", "genetically healthy", "worthy", "politically reliable", and they couldn't have vices like drinking. Criteria against honors were, for example, "family history contains inferior blood", "unfemenine" behaviour like smoking or doing poor housekeeping, not being "politically reliable", or having family members that had been "indicted and imprisoned". There were instances where a family was disqualified because a doctor saw signs of "feeblemindedness." Even contact with a Jew could disqualify a potential recipient. Social workers had become disillusioned from the Weimar Republic and supported Nazi ideas personally as a means to "cure" the problems of the country. Application of policies was uneven, as doctors promoted medical criteria over racial criteria, and local authorities promoted economical need over any other criteria.
The holiday is now celebrated in the second Sunday of May, in a manner similar to other nearby European countries.
Mother's Day in Greece corresponds to the Eastern Orthodox feast day of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple (2 February). Since the Theotokos (The Mother of God) appears prominently in this feast as the one who brought Christ to the Temple at Jerusalem, this feast is associated with mothers.
In Hungary, Mother's Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of May.
Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May. It is quite famous in urban areas, where gift giving to mothers is observed. The festival of Pâthâre Prabhu is celebrated on the same day only in Mumbai (previously Bombay), the Southern part of India (concretely Konkan and the districts below the Western Ghats). The Pathare prabhu caste always celebrates this holiday.It is based on a legend about a mother whose children kept dying after only one year of living and it has a very remote origin. Although it's also called "Mother's Day", it is unrelated to the modern celebration, which is copied from the US (second Sunday of May) and is celebrated in the whole country.
Mother's day (Indonesian: Hari Ibu) is celebrated nationally on December 22. It is the day of the first Indonesian Women Congress (Indonesian: Kongres Perempuan Indonesia) from December 22 to 25, 1928. The meeting happens in a building called Dalem Jayadipuran now functioned as office of Center of History and Traditional Values Preservation (Indonesian: Balai Pelestarian Sejarah dan Nilai Tradisional) in Brigjen Katamso Street, Yogyakarta. It was attended by 30 feminist organizations from 12 cities in Java and Sumatra. In Indonesia, feminist organizations have existed since 1912, inspired by Indonesian heroines of the 19th century, e.g. Kartini, Martha Christina Tiahahu, Cut Nyak Meutia, Maria Walanda Maramis, Dewi Sartika, Nyai Ahmad Dahlan, Rasuna Said, etc.
The idea to make the day official was started during the third Indonesian Women Congress in 1938. It was signed by president Soekarno under the Presidential Decree (Indonesian: Dekrit Presiden) no. 316 year 1959. The day was originally aimed to celebrate the spirit of Indonesian women and to improve the condition of the nation. Today, Mother's Day is celebrated by expressing love and gratitude to mothers. People present gifts to mothers, such as flowers, hold surprise parties and competitions such as cooking competition or kebaya wearing competition. People also allow mothers to have their day off from doing domestic chores.
Celebrated on 20 Jumada al-thani, the birthday anniversary of Fatimah, Muhammad's daughter. It was changed after the Iranian revolution, the reason having been theorized as trying to undercut feminist movements and promoting role models for the traditional model of family. It was previously 25 Azar on the Iranian calendar during the Shah era.
It is celebrated on Shevat 30, which falls anywhere between January 30 and March 1. It was set to the same day as the birthday of Henrietta Szold. Henrietta had no biological children, but her organization Youth Aliyah rescued many Jewish children from Nazi Germany and took care of them, and she also fought for several rights of Jewish children. She is considered the "mother" of all those children, and that's why her birthday was set as Mother's Day (יוֹם הָאֵם, yom ha'em). It has evolved over time, becoming a celebration of mutual love inside the family and it's called Family Day (יוֹם הַמִשְּפָּחָה, yom hamishpacha). It's only celebrated by children at kindergartens, there are no longer mutual gifts among members of the family, and there is no longer any commercialization of the celebration. It's not an official holiday either. Israeli Arabs (about 20% of the population) celebrate Mother's Day on 21 March, similar to other Arab countries.
Mother's Day in Italy was celebrated for the first time on May 12, 1957, in the city of Assisi, thanks to the initiative of Rev. Otello Migliosi, parish priest of the Tordibetto church. This celebration was so successful that the following year it was adopted throughout Italy, where since then it is usually celebrated on the second Sunday in May.
Mother's Day in Japan was initially commemorated during the Shōwa period as the birthday of Empress Kōjun (mother of Emperor Akihito) on 6 March. This was established in 1931 when Imperial Women's Union was organized. In 1937, the first meeting of "Praise Mothers" was held on 8 May, and in around 1949 Japanese society adapted to celebrate Mother's day on the second Sunday of May, the same as many other countries. Nowadays it is rather a marketed holiday, and people typically give flowers such as red carnations and roses as gifts.
The first mention of Mother’s Day in Malta occurred during the Radio Children’s Programmes run by Frans H. Said in May 1961. Within a few years, Mother’s Day has become one of the most popular dates in the Maltese calendar. In Malta, this day is commemorated on the second Sunday in May. Mothers are invariably given gifts and invited for lunch, usually at a good restaurant.
The government of Álvaro Obregón imported the holiday from the US in 1922, with the newspaper Excélsior making a massive promotion campaign that year. The conservative government tried to use the holiday to promote a more conservative role for mothers in families, which was criticized by the socialists as promoting an unrealistic image of a woman who wasn't good for much more than breeding.
In the mid-1930s the government of Lázaro Cárdenas promoted the holiday as a "patriotic festival". The Cárdenas government tried to use the holiday as a vehicle for various efforts: stressing the importance of families for national development, benefiting from the loyalty that Mexicans had towards their mothers, introducing new morals to Mexican women and reducing the influence that the church and the Catholic right had on them. The government sponsored the holiday in the schools. However, the theatre plays ignored the strict guidelines from the government and they were filled with religious icons and themes, and the "national celebrations" became "religious fiestas" despite the efforts of the government.
Soledad Orozco García, the wife of President Manuel Ávila Camacho, promoted the holiday during the 1940s, making it into an important state-sponsored celebration. The 1942 celebration lasted a whole week, including an announcement that all women could reclaim their pawned sewing machines from the Monte de Piedad at no cost.
The catholic National Synarchist Union (UNS) started paying attention to the holiday around 1941, due to Orozco's promotion. The members of the Party of the Mexican Revolution (nowadays PRI) that owned shops had a custom where women from humble classes could go to their shop in mother's day, pick a gift for free, and bring it home to their families. The Synarchists worried that this promoted both materialism and the idleness of lower classes, and in turn reinforced the systemic social problematics of the country. While nowadays we see those holiday practices as very conservative, the 1940s' UNS was viewing the holiday as a part of the larger debate on modernization that was happening at the time. This economic modernization was inspired by US models and was sponsored by the state, and the fact that the holiday was originally imported from the US was only seen as one more piece of evidence that it was an attempt at imposing capitalization and materialism in Mexican society.
Also, the UNS and the clergy of the city of León saw in the government actions an effort to secularize the holiday and to promote a more active role of women in society, with the long term goal of weakening men spiritually when women abandoned their traditional roles at home. They also saw the holiday as an attempt to secularize the cult to the Virgin Mary, inside a larger effort to dechristianize several holidays, and they tried to counter this by organizing massive masses and asking religious women to assist with the state-sponsored events and try to "depaganize" them. In 1942, at the same time as Soledad's greatest celebration of the holiday, the clergy organized in León the 210th celebration of the Virgin Mary with a big parade.
There is a consensus among scholars that the Mexican government abandoned its revolutionary initiaves during the 1940s, including efforts to influence Mother's Day. Nowadays the holiday in Mexico is a celebration of both mothers and the Virgin Mary.
Nowadays the "Día de las Madres" is an unofficial holiday in Mexico held each year on May 10.
"Mata Tirtha Aunshi", translated as "Mother Pilgrimage fortnight", falls in the month of Baishak dark fortnight (April/may). This festival falls in the dark moon’s time, which is why this called "Mata Tirtha Aunshi" derived from words: "Mata" meaning mother; "Tirtha" meaning pilgrimage. This festival is observed in the commemoration and respect of the mother, which is celebrated by worshipping and gifting living mother or remembering mothers who have become immortal and are resting in peace. Going to Mata Tirtha Pilgrimage located towards the Kathmandu valley’s eastern side at Mata Tirtha Village development committee’s periphery is another tradition common in Nepal.
There is a legend regarding this pilgrimage. In ancient times Lord Krishna’s mother Devaki walked out her house to sight-see. She visited many places and delayed a lot to return back at her house. Lord Krishna became very unhappy because of his mother’s disappearance. So he went out in search of his mother to many places without success. Finally, when he reached "Mata Tirtha Kunda", he happened to see his mother taking bath there in the spouts of that pond. Lord Krishna was very happy to find her there and narrated all of his tragedies in the absence of his mother. Mother Devaki said to lord Krishna that "oh! Son Krishna let then, this place be the pious rendezvous of children to meet their departed mothers". So legends believe that since then this place had become a noted holy pilgrimage to see back a devotees’ deceased mother. Also legend believes that a devotee saw his mother’s image inside the pond and he happened to die falling there down. So still there is a small pond fenced by the iron rods in the place even on this present day as well. After the worship the pilgrimage enjoy there singing and dancing throughout the day in the festive mood. There is not evidence of happening of this legend as these are coming from elders based on ancient readings.
In New Zealand, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. It is not a public holiday.
In Nicaragua the Día de la Madre is celebrated on May 30 since the first years of the 1940s. The date was chosen by President Anastasio Somoza García because it was the birthday of Casimira Sacasa, the mother of his wife.
In Pakistan, Mother's Day is also celebrated on the second Sunday of May. On this day, individuals who have lost their mother pray and pay their respects to their loved ones lost. Mother's day is not only the mothers who have been gone, but alive too.
In Panama it's celebrated on December 8, the same day as the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. This date was suggested in 1930 by the wife of Panama's President Florencio Harmodio Arosemena, and it was passed as Law 69 in the same year.
According to other account, the Rotary Club of Panama asked in 1924 that Mother's Day be celebrated on May 11 to honor mothers, but a politician called Aníbal D. Ríos changed the proposal, so that it would be held on December 8, and he made it into a national holiday.
In Paraguay it is celebrated in 15 May, the same day as the Dia de la Patria, which celebrates the independence of Paraguay. This is apparently to honor the role played by Juana María de Lara in the events of 14 May 1811 that led to Paraguay's independence.
In 2008 the Paraguayan Minister of Culture, Bruno Barrios, lamented this coincidence because Mother's Day is so much more popular in comparison that the independence celebration goes unnoticed; he asked that the celebration was moved to the end of the month. A group of young people was trying to gather 20,000 signatures to ask the Parliament to move Mother's Day. The Comisión de festejos (Celebration Committee) of the city of Asunción asked in 2008 that Mother's Day was moved to the second Sunday of May.
Mother's day in Thailand is celebrated on the birthday of the Queen of Thailand, Queen Sirikit (12 Aug). It started being celebrated around the 1980s as part of the campaign by the Prime Minister of Thailand Prem Tinsulanonda to promote Thailand's Royal family. Father's Day is celebrated on the King's birthday.
In Romania, since 2010, Mother's Day is celebrated in the first Sunday of May. Law 319/2009 also made Father's Day official in Romania, and it was passed thanks to the campaigning from the Alliance Fighting Discrimination Against Fathers (TATA). Previously, Mother's Day was celebrated on March 8, as part of the International Women's Day (a leftover tradition from the days when Romania was part of the communist block), whereas now Mother's Day and Women's Day are two separate holidays, with Women's Day keeping its original date of March 8.
Czechoslovakia celebrated only Women's Day until the Velvet Revolution in 1989. After the split of the country in 1993, Slovakia started celebrating both Women's Day and Mother's Day. The politicization of Women's Day has affected the official status of Mother's Day. Center-right parties want Mother's Day to replace Women's Day, while social-democrats want to make Women's Day official. Nowadays, both days are festive, but they are not "state holidays".
In Sweden, Mother's Day was first celebrated in 1919, by initiative of the author Cecilia Bååth-Holmberg. It took several decades for the day to be widely recognized though. Those born in the early nineteen hundreds typically did not celebrate the day, as the common opinoin was that it had been invented strictly for commercial purposes. Same thing was said about Father's day, and only since the late 1970s has the practice found common acceptance. Mother´s Day in Sweden is celebrated the last Sunday in May, this year 2011 its the 29th of May. The reason for the late date is said to be because then everbody could go outside and pick flowers.
United Kingdom and Ireland
In the United Kingdom and Ireland, there was a celebration called Mothering Sunday, which fell on the fourth Sunday of Lent (3 April in 2011). Most historians believe that it originated from the 16th century Christian practice of visiting one's mother church annually on Laetere Sunday, which meant that most mothers would be reunited with their children on this day when young apprentices and young women in servitude were released by their masters that weekend. As a result of secularization, it was then principally used to show appreciation to one's mother, although it is still recognized in the historical sense by some churches, with attention paid to Mary the mother of Jesus Christ as well as the traditional concept 'Mother Church'.
By 1935 Mothering Sunday was less celebrated in Europe. There were efforts to revive the festival in the 1910s–1920s by Constance Penswick-Smith, but it wasn't revived until US World War II soldiers brought to the UK the Mother's Day celebrations, and it was merged with the Mothering Sunday traditions still celebrated in the Church of England. By the 1950s it had become popular in the whole of the UK, thanks to the efforts of UK merchants, who saw in the festival a great commercial opportunity. People from Ireland and UK started celebrating Mother's Day on the fourth Sunday of Lent, the same day on which Mothering Sunday had been celebrated for centuries. Some Mothering Sunday traditions were revived, such as the tradition of eating cake on that day, although they now eat simnel cake instead of the cakes that were traditionally prepared at that time. The traditions of the two celebrations have now been mixed up, and many people think that they are the same thing.
Mothering Sunday can fall at the earliest on 1 March (in years when Easter Day falls on 22 March) and at the latest on 4 April (when Easter Day falls on 25 April).
United States of America
The United States celebrates Mother's Day on the second Sunday in May. Julia Ward Howe first issued her Mother's Day Proclamation in 1870 as a call for women to join in support of disarmament. In the 1880s and 1890s there were several further attempts to establish an American Mother's Day, but these didn't succeed beyond the local level. The current holiday was created by Anna Jarvis in Grafton, West Virginia, in 1908 as a day to honor one's mother.Jarvis wanted to accomplish her mother's dream of making a celebration for all mothers, although the idea didn't take off until she enlisted the services of wealthy Philadelphia merchant John Wanamaker. She kept promoting the holiday until President Woodrow Wilson made it an official national holiday in 1914. The holiday eventually became so highly commercialized that many, including its founder, Anna Jarvis, considered it a "Hallmark Holiday", i.e. one with an overwhelming commercial purpose. Jarvis eventually ended up opposing the holiday she had helped to create. She died in 1948, regretting what had become of her holiday. In the United States, Mother's Day remains one of the biggest days for sales of flowers, greeting cards, and the like; it is also the biggest holiday for long-distance telephone calls.
Nine years after the first official United States Mother's Day, commercialization of the holiday became so rampant that Anna Jarvis herself became a major opponent of what the holiday had become and spent all her inheritance and the rest of her life fighting what she saw as an abuse of the celebration.
Later commercial and other exploitations of the use of Mother's Day infuriated Jarvis and she made her criticisms explicitly known throughout her time. She criticized the practice of purchasing greeting cards, which she saw as a sign of being too lazy to write a personal letter. She was arrested in 1948 for disturbing the peace while protesting against the commercialization of Mother's Day, and she finally said that she "wished she would have never started the day because it became so out of control ...".
Mother's Day continues to be one of the most commercially successful U.S. occasions. According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother's Day is now the most popular day of the year to dine out at a restaurant in the United States.
For example, according to IBISWorld, a publisher of business research, Americans will spend approximately $2.6 billion on flowers, $1.53 billion on pampering gifts—like spa treatments—and another $68 million on greeting cards. Mother's Day will generate about 7.8% of the U.S. jewelry industry's annual revenue in 2008, with custom gifts like mother's rings.
It's possible that the holiday would have withered over time without the support and continuous promotion of the florist industries and other commercial industries. Other Protestant holidays from the same time, like Children's Day and Temperance Sunday, do not have the same level of popularity. Mother's Day is also prominent in the Sunday Funnies of the United States, ranging from sentimental to wry to caustic.
By: Tene Sommer
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