When is Mother's Day and what is the history behind it?
When is Mother’s Day? Mother’s Day, also known as Mothering Sunday, is held on the fourth Sunday of Lent and this year is on Sunday, March 11. Mothering Sunday is not a bank holiday.Why do we celebrate Mother’s Day and what is the history behind it?Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate mothers and all mother figures such as grandmothers, stepmothers and mothers-in-law and everything that they do. A special effort is made on this day when children or daughters and sons-in-law buy cards, flowers or gifts for their mothers. The origins of Mother’s Day date back to the ancient Greek times, but the way in which we celebrate it today began in America in 1908. The ancient Greeks dedicated an annual spring festival to maternal goddesses, and ancient Romans also celebrated a spring festival called Hilaria which was for a mother goddess called Cybele. More recent origins of Mothering Sunday date back to the 1600s in England when it was held on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Some stories say that people would return to their mother church, the church that they were baptized in or attended services in when they were children. and this would bring together communities who hadn’t seen each other for a while.Other stories say that this date was to honour mothers. A prayer service was also held in church for the Virgin Mary and children would bring gifts and flowers to pay tribute to their mothers. This day had almost died out completely by the 19th century. Will you buy your mum some flowers this Mother's Day?After this, in America the idea of an official celebration for all mothers came in 1872 from Julia Ward Howe, an activist, writer and poet. She became famous for her Civil War song “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and suggested that June 2 should be annually celebrated as Mother’s Day and should be a day dedicated to peace. Julia also delivered a passionate appeal to women in 1870 in Boston and urged them to rise against war, and she initiated a Mothers’ Peace Day service on the second Sunday in June and annually held the meeting for a couple of years. The writer worked hard to have Mother’s Day declared as an official holiday, but it was later replaced by the holiday now celebrated in May in America. Anna Jarvis is recognised as the woman who invented Mother’s Day in America after she held a memorial for her mother in West Virginia in 1908. Her mother, also called Anna Jarvis, had previously expressed how much she wanted to have a mother’s day and Anna wanted to fulfil this for her.Anna held the ceremony for her mother and sent carnations to the church service for this as they were her mother’s favourite flower. After this, she and her supporters sent letters to those high up in positions of power and asked for an official holiday to honour mothers. Eventually in 1911, Mother’s Day was celebrated in almost every state and on May 8 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a joint resolution document that confirmed every second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.Today in the UK, Mothering Sunday and Mother’s Day have merged and it is celebrated on the second Sunday of Lent which usually falls in either March or early April.