Mothers are pretty special, and really, they deserve to be treated and celebrated everyday.
Clearly, though, that’s not always possible, so Mother’s Day is a good reminder to say thank you to your mum, and anyone else who cares for you in your life.
Honouring and thanking your mum isn’t a new idea, either. It’s actually been going on for thousands of years.
All around the world, ancient cultures realised the importance of celebrating everything mums do for their children and for life itself. After all, where would we be without them?
Many ancient cultures believed in the power of mothers as the givers of life.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, for example, held a belief in the Earth as a mother of everything. Therefore, the earth needed to be cared for, respected and also listened to.
The Ancient Greeks and Romans venerated or celebrated a mother figure that had many names, but was usually understood to be the mother of all gods or the giver of life to gods, animals and human beings. Festivals to celebrate her often happened in spring – when new life of all kinds was typically celebrated.
The first Mother’s Day
In Europe, Mother’s Day celebrations began in the Christian tradition with a religious festival known as Mothering Sunday.
It was celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent, when Christians were generally expected to return home to their hometowns for special services they went to as children – called their mother churches.
Slowly over the centuries, Mothering Sunday began to be celebrated more widely and children would begin to give their mothers flowers on Mothering Sunday.
In 1870, US anti-war campaigners and women’s right activists wrote a call to action known as the ‘Mother’s Day Proclamation’, asking mothers to unite in support of world peace.
Later on, the first US Mother’s Day was in 1908 – kick-started by one of the daughters of the original anti-war campaigners, called Anna Jarvis. The symbol of the day quickly became the white carnation in honour of her own mother who nursed soldiers during the war.
The official day became the Second Sunday in May in 1914 – as declared by US President Woodrow Wilson.
Mother’s Day in Australia
In Australia, the first official celebration of Mother’s Day was in 1924.
It was started by a Sydneysider called Janet Hayden. Originally, she wanted to do something to provide support to elderly mothers who were often lonely at a hospital she visited.
Schools and businesses began donating gifts to provide some much-needed cheer for the women who had lost sons and husbands in the first world war.
Like in the US, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May, although it’s not an official holiday.
Most people celebrate with simple things such as offering bouquets of flowers to their mothers, having family lunches together, or just spending some quality time with each other.
If you’re in need of flowers, there are many online florists offering convenient delivery straight to your mum’s doorstep. For example, check out Boydita if you’re in need of a flower delivery Central Coast service.
Mother’s Day Around the World
Many countries around the world celebrate Mother’s Day – although many do so on different dates and at different times of the year.
A lot of Arab countries celebrate on 21 March, which is an equinox and the first day of spring. It’s a day of gift-giving and celebration.
In Thailand, the holiday is observed on 12 August to mark the birthday of the much-revered Queen Sirikit. There are often many celebrations and parades with jasmine the usual gift offered to mothers.
Mexicans take Mother’s Day really seriously. It falls on 10 May and most families go out to a restaurant and celebrate by sharing food, listening to music and gifting flowers.
In the former Soviet Union, mothers were celebrated on 8 March – a date which has since become globally-renowned as International Women’s Day to honour women and reflect on the path towards gender equality. Even now that there’s an official day in November, most gifts are given in March.
In Japan, the day used to be celebrated in line with the birthday of the Empress Koujun, although it’s now been moved to the second Sunday in May.
Many other countries – India and China included – also celebrate the day on the second Sunday in May as the holiday has been imported from the United States.