Remembering and Honoring the Origins of Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is one of the most significant and common holidays in the world. It is a holiday that is celebrated to honor the mothers, motherhood, and the influence of a mother in society. A mother is a symbol of respect and honor in every religion and every part of the world. A mother plays a very important role in the construction of society, and she is given respect and honor everywhere in the world. That is why this holiday is celebrated almost all over the world to remember the everlasting and unadulterated love of a mother. The dates on which Mother’s Day is celebrated can be different for different parts of the world but most commonly is celebrated in March and May.

Ancient History

The origin of Mother’s Day is very ancient. According to some historians, the celebrations of Mother’s Day started when the ancient spring festivals were held to honor the mother goddesses. Ancient countries like Greece and Rome had many of these festivals to honor their mother goddesses.


Mothering Sunday

In the United Kingdom, to honor the services of mothers, a special holiday is celebrated, which started in the 1600s. It is called Mothering Sunday or also known as Mid-lent Sunday, and it is celebrated on the fourth Sunday in Lent. This was very popular in the 17th century in English-speaking counties. Adelaide Smith revived its modern observation in 1913 after the introduction of Mother’s Day in the United States.


Modern Mother’s Day

The modern Mother’s Day started in the United States in the early 20th century. Anna Jarvis is considered as the founder of the modern Mother’s Day holiday. The Mother’s Day holiday initiated in 1908 when Anna Jarvis held a memorial ceremony for her mother at a church. Anna Jarvis was a peace activist known for her services to the wounded soldiers of both sides of the American Civil War. She died in 1905. Anna Jarvis wanted to honor her mother for her services to the nation, so she started a campaign to make Mother’s Day a renowned holiday in the United States. The day she held a memorial for her mother in 1908 is considered as the first celebration of the modern Mother’s Day. The church where the memorial was held is known as St. Andrew’s Methodist Church, and it is situated in Grafton, West Virginia. It holds the international Mother’s Day Shrine. In 1910, Mother’s Day was celebrated as a local holiday in Anna Jarvis’s state, Virginia, and it was observed as a national holiday in 1914.


The commercialism of Mother’s Day

After a few years of the declaration of Mother’s Day as the national holiday, companies started to commercialize the holiday. Companies started to sell Mother’s Day flowers and cards to make a profit for themselves. Anna Jarvis resented this commercialization of Mother’s Day. According to her, the companies had exploited the idea of Mother’s Day. The holiday’s emphasis was on sentiment and not on making a profit. She started boycotting the commercialized Mother’s Day and threatened the involved companies to issue lawsuits against them. According to her, people should gift and honor their mothers by writing hand-written letters and handmade gifts to show their love and gratitude towards them. She was against buying of gifts and pre-made cards. She also started some protests and was later arrested for disturbing the peace.


Annual Celebration

Anna Jarvis announced the annual date of Mother’s Day in 1912. It is not a fixed date every year; rather, it is a fixed day every year, i.e., the second Sunday of May every year is considered as Mother’s Day. Anna Jarvis emphasized that the possessive “Mother’s” should be singular in Mother’s Day. This indicates that each family should honor their mother and not the collective mothers of the world. These spellings are mostly used by the presidents of the United States as well.


Adoption by Other Countries

This holiday in the United States caught everyone’s eye. Many counties adopted this holiday, but the dates and celebrations were different from the United States. Some countries already had celebrations to honor motherhood, and they named it Mother’s Day after that. In the United Kingdom, Mothering Sunday or Mid-Lent Sunday was already there to honor the services of mothers. It was not that much popular until the American Mother’s Day was declared. It gained popularity after the modern or American Mother’s Day declaration. In Greece, Mother’s Day is celebrated as Secular Mother’s as well as Religious Mother’s Day. The celebrations are different for both, but the concept is the same, which is to honor the influence of a mother.


Religious and Historical Influence on Mother’s Day

In some countries, the date is adopted according to some significant religious dates. For example, Virgin Mary Day is considered as Mother’s Day in Catholic countries. Also, some countries adopt the date according to some historical background. For example, Mother’s Day in Bolivia is on a fixed date to remember the participation of women in a battle to defend their children.



Mother’s Day is a holiday that is present in almost every country, and every religion acknowledges it. It may differ in celebrations and dates over the world, but the idea and concept of this holiday are the same for everyone. Modern Mother’s Day started in the early 1900s, but the history of arranging different festivals and events to honor the mothers or mother goddesses is quite ancient. Greece and Rome are the countries where the celebrations to honor the mother goddesses started. In 1600, the United Kingdom started Mothering Sunday to honor mothers and motherhood. Mothering Sunday gained popularity after the American Mother’s Day was introduced. American or Modern Mother’s Day was founded by Anna Jarvis, who was the daughter of a peace activist, and she wanted to honor her mother. She started a campaign, and as a result, Mother’s Day was recognized as a national holiday in the United States. After that, many countries adopted this holiday and introduced Mother’s Day according to their religious or historical significance.