Mother's Day is observed next on Sunday, May 14th, 2023 (54 days from today).
With different forms throughout the world, Mother’s Day is a special holiday honoring motherhood.
In its modern form, the holiday originates in the United States, where it is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. Many other countries also celebrate the holiday on this day, while some mark observance at other times of the year. During the Middle Ages, the custom evolved to allow those who had left to visit their home parishes and their mothers on Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Lent. The day has since become Mother's Sunday in the UK, where it continues to take place in modern times, although it has largely been replaced by Mother's Day.
History of Mother's Day
The celebration goes back to ancient times when the Greeks and Romans held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele. However, the original Christian festival known as “Motherhood Sunday” was considered as a forerunner of modern times. This European tradition falls on the fourth Sunday in Lent. Many believe that on this day the faithful will return to the "mother church" - the main church near their home - for special service. Over time, the tradition of Mothering Sunday shifted to a more secular holiday where children would give their mothers flowers and other gifts. This custom would blend into Mother's Day in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s.
American author and poet Julia Ward Howe, who wrote "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," became editor of Women's Magazine, a widely read suffering magazine, in 1872. During that time, she wrote “A Call to Women around the World,” called the Mother's Day Manifesto. The document asks women to fight for world peace after both the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. Howe then made a failed attempt to start "Mother's Day" celebrations on June 2. Two decades later, Howe proposed holding Mother's Day celebrations on July 4. This also failed, but set the stage for a future attempt.
Mother's Day was successfully created by Anna Jarvis after her mother passed away in 1905. Jarvis notes that Mother's Day should have a "singular possessive", (hence the apostrophe) so that each family can honor its mother - as opposed to all mothers. Jarvis, who was unmarried and childless, celebrated the first official Mother's Day celebration in May 1908. A Philadelphia department store owner named John Wanamaker lent financial support to the purpose. That same month, thousands of people attended a Mother's Day event at one of Wanamaker's stores.
Jarvis soon campaigned to make Mother's Day a national holiday calling on famous Americans to join the effort. In 1912, Mother's Day was considered as an annual event in most of destinations from many states, towns, and churches. Jarvis was also the founder of the International Mother's Day Association. President Wilson would decide to choose the second Sunday of May as Mother's Day since 1914. Hallmark began designing and purchasing beautiful cards relating Mother's Day in the early 1920s.
Jarvis's love affair with the holiday she worked so hard to start didn't last and she eventually grew resentful of its commercial appeal. When florists and greeting card companies started to make money, she crippled the idea of Independence Day - urging people to stop buying flowers, cards and candy. Jarvis spent most of his personal fortune hiring lawyers to file lawsuits against groups that used the term "Mother's Day." She even tried to convince the federal government to remove it from the calendar.
Traditions of Mother's Day
The undying love and selfless sacrifice of mothers is reciprocated with some royal treatment given to them on Mother's Day. It's the day to pamper the queen of the family! Think gifts, breakfast in bed, hand-painted cards with stickers on them, a day of shopping or the spa, hit it!
Most of the popular traditions of the day include father and son doing the housework and cooking for the day, spending time with mom and buying her traditional gifts like flowers, jewelry or an item that the mother keeps an eye on. There are big sales and discounts on select stores and restaurants, as well as special deals just for moms. Movies and episodes related to mothers or Mother's Day are broadcast all day, talk shows and segments featuring famous mothers. When it comes to celebrities, mothers are today's stars, so their photos are rampant on social networks.
How to celebrate Mother's Day
Have you ever noticed how your mom always says she doesn't want expensive gifts? Believe her. She just wants to spend some time with you (yes, that's a cliché, but that doesn't make it any less true). So go for a hike or plan a picnic. Support her mother in the garden or clean home. Even if it doesn't get more creative than a big bowl of popcorn and a "GOT" marathon, mom will prefer QT to any tangible gift.
- Treat her
Take her out to play. Find a great restaurant and treat her to a mimosa tree or three. Planning to take her out later? The sky is the limit for lunch and dinner options. Plan ahead. Make a reservation. Remember, you're an adult now.
Listening is an act of love. Therefore, with that in mind, take a short break from talking about your own problems and listen to her talk about her life, dreams, or favorite memories. If you have siblings, gather the family together and tell stories!
ObservedMother's Day has been observed the second Sunday in May.
Sunday, May 9th, 2021
Sunday, May 8th, 2022
Sunday, May 14th, 2023
Sunday, May 12th, 2024
Sunday, May 11th, 2025
Anna Jarvis in 1908
President Woodrow Wilson on May 9th, 1914