Mother’s Day is a celebration that honors mothers and motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. It is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, most commonly in March, April, or May. Mother’s Day is an American invention and it’s not directly descended from the many celebrations of mothers and motherhood that have occurred throughout the world over thousands of years; like the Greek cult to Cybele, the Roman festival of Hilaria, or the Christian Mothering Sunday celebration. Despite this, in some countries Mother’s Day has become synonymous with these older traditions.
The modern holiday of Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother in America. She then began a campaign to make “Mother’s Day” a recognized holiday in the United States. Although she was successful in 1914, she was already disappointed with its commercialization by the 1920s. Jarvis’ holiday was adopted by other countries and it is now celebrated all over the world.
Jarvis never mentioned Mothering Sunday or Julia Ward Howe’s attempts in the 1870s, and she never mentioned any connection to the Protestant school celebrations, and she always said that the creation was hers alone. The observations in the 1870s and the 1880s never had resonance beyond the local level.
Photo © Abraham Menashe