The history of Mother’s Day dates back to the 19th Century. Even then, the importance of Mothers, and their role within the family, was recognised. Some of the people who played a vital role in founding the Mother’s Day that we celebrate today include:
- Julia Ward Howe, who tried to establish a Mother’s Day in America in 1872. She began promoting the idea of a “Mother’s Day for Peace” to be celebrated on June 2, honouring peace, motherhood and womanhood. In 1873, women in 18 cities in America held a Mother’s Day for Peace gathering. Boston celebrated the Mother’s Day for Peace for at least 10 years afterward.
- Anna Jarvis from Philadelphia — in 1890 she significantly contributed to the establishment of Mother’s Day after swearing at her mother’s gravesite in 1905 to dedicate her life to establishing a Mother’s Day to honour mothers, both living and dead. In 1907, she handed out 500 white carnations at her mother’s church in West Virginia — one for each mother in the congregation. On May 10, 1908, the first church — St. Andrew’s in Grafton, West Virginia — responded to her request for a Sunday service honouring mothers. By the end of Anna Jarvis’ life, Mother’s Day was celebrated in more than 40 countries.
- John Wanamaker, a Philadelphia merchant, joined the campaign for Mother’s Day in 1908.
- In 1914, the U.S. Congress passed a Joint Resolution, and President Woodrow Wilson signed it, establishing Mother’s Day, emphasising women’s role in the family.
Today, Mother’s Day is celebrated around the world in many different countries with many different customs, all to show appreciation for Mothers.
- In Australia, the United States, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey and Belgium, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May.
- In Spain, Mother’s Day is December 8, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, so that not only mothers in one’s family are honored, but also Mary, the mother of Jesus.
- In France, Mother’s Day is on the last Sunday of May. A special cake resembling a bouquet of flowers is presented to mothers at a family dinner.
Fathers, this is your big chance to honour your mother this Mother’s Day, and also honour your wife as mother to your children. Remember, the greatest thing a man can do for his children is to love their mother. Don’t let this Mother’s Day go by without some extra attention for the two most important women in your life: your mother, and the mother of your children.