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Mother's Day Celebrations Date Back to Ancient Greece The SeniorScape™

The origins of Mother's Day can be traced as far back as Ancient Greece, where the goddess Rhea who was considered to be the Mother of the Gods was celebrated in their spring festival.

Fast forward to the the 16th century Christianity where there there was a celebration known as Mothering Sunday which fell each year on the 4th Sunday of Lent. It was a time set aside for people to return for a special service to their "mother church" also known as their main church.

Mothering Sunday gave families the opportunity to gather and reunite. This may have been the beginning of the tradition for giving flowers on Mothers’ Day as history tell us us that children would either pick flowers or bring bouquets of flowers to their mothers on this day.

Mothering Sunday also extended to those who worked in service to others. Apprentices and servants would be given time off on Mothering Sunday to return home to see their Mothers. Rather than flowers, they would bring a special cake known as a Simnel cake, a mixture of fruit and almost paste, the top of which was decorated with 11 marzipan balls meant to represent the apostles of Jesus.

The 1900’s Mother’s Day celebrations became less popular, and may have disappeared entirely, but for the efforts of Anna Jarvis. It began in 1907 when she held a small memorial service for her mother which sparked others to do the same. Once it grew in popularity, Anna Jarvis, lobbied President Woodrow Wilson to create the day as an official American Holiday, and thus, Mothers’ Day as we know it today, became an official American Holiday.

Though they may occur at different times throughout the year, Mother’s Day celebrations take place in 152 countries around the world.

Anna Jarvis’ efforts inspired a woman Constance Penswick Smith, an English woman, to resurrect Mothering Sunday. She is not only considered to be the founder of a Mothering Sunday movement, but also the founder of the Society for the Observance of Mothering Sunday. Mothering Sunday has been celebrated in the UK since the 1950s.

In the UK, Mothering Sunday gained in popularity when soldiers celebrated their

mother’s from afar.

However, eventually Anna Jarvis lamented that the day had become too commercialized. Despite the fact that this may indeed be true, Mother's Day has not lost its special meaning for millions of people who celebrate and honor their Mother on this Day.

Present day statistics estimate there are 2.2 billion mothers worldwide.

Though they may occur at different times throughout the year, Mother’s Day celebrations are universally celebrated in 152 countries.

  • In Thailand, Mother's Day is celebrated on the date of their Queen's birthday, August 12.

  • In Ireland it is celebrated on March 30th.

  • In Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestinian Territories, Syria, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen, Mother’s day falls on the first day of spring. This began in large part by the efforts of an Egyptian journalist in the 1950s who rallied to designate a day appreciating mothers.

  • In Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Belize, Mother’s Day is celebrated on May 10th. When falling on a weekday, mother's stay home from work and children stay home from school.

  • In Algeria, the Dominican Republic, France, Haiti, Mauritius, Morocco, Sweden, and Tunisia, Mother’s Day falls on the last Sunday in May.

  • In Kenya it is celebrated on June 29th.

  • In Spain and Portugal, Mother’s Day is celebrated on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Mothers are honored along with the Virgin Mary.

  • In Indonesia, Mother's Day began in 1928 on December 22nd, as an anniversary of the first Women's Congress. It extends beyond celebrating individual Mothers to include rallies and political demonstrations in support of women.

Mother's' come in all shapes, sizes, ages, religions, languages, etc. Whether or not your mother is still with you, remember that we are bound by the universal fact that we've all had mother's.

Some Additional Fun Mother's Day facts

· In the UK the largest annual number of telephone calls take place on Mother’s Day.

· In the US approx 122 million calls are made on the second Sunday of May every year.

· In the US Mother's Day is the third highest selling holiday for flowers and plants.

· Every year people send around 30 million cards on Mother’s Day in the UK.

· Mother’s Day is the biggest flower buying day of the year in Britain.

· Red or pink carnations are the flowers associated with Mother's Day.

· In 2021, the top 3 most popular gifts were greeting cards, flowers, and special outings.

Yesterday I spent Mother's Day with my daughter and 3 young granddaughters. The beautiful weather allowed us to enjoy a picnic style dinner on the patio. Afterwards, we spent time looking through a wealth of family photos that I found. My granddaughters loved seeing pictures of their mother when she was little, but I also found pictures of my mother with her family when she was a little girl, a baby picture of me that I thought was lost forever, even my parent's announcement when I was born. It brought back lots of memories and reminded me how important it is to celebrate family and legacy.

Feel free to comment and share some of your favorite family Mother's Day memories and celebrations.

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