Origins of Mother’s Day and how other countries celebrate it.

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So where did it all begin?

The earliest accounts that relate to a ‘Mothers Day’ date back to the ancient annual spring festival the Greeks dedicated to maternal goddesses. The Greeks used the occasion to honor Rhea, wife of Cronus and the mother of many deities of Greek mythology.

Similar spring festivals were also prevalent in Ancient Roman, where the festival of Hilaria dedicated to Cybele, a mother goddess were celebrated some 250 years before Christ was born. The celebration made on the Ides of March by making offerings in the temple of Cybele lasted for three days and included parades, games and masquerades. The celebrations were notorious enough that followers of Cybele were banished from Rome.

Connections to the church

As Christianity spread throughout Europe churchgoers would regularly use their nearest parish or ‘daughter’ church to worship albeit when the spring celebrations arrived, usually around the fourth Sunday of Lent (the 40 days leading up to Easter), worshipers were asked to return to their home or ‘Mother’ church for spiritual protection that would give life and keep family members from harm. Over time the church festival became an opportunity for people to celebrate both the church and the work of mothers in general.

A day of celebration

Mother’s Day or Mothering Sunday has since become a regular celebration of mothers and an opportunity for the family to show their appreciation. During Victorian times many of the poor worked as servants for the wealthy.

As most jobs were located far from their homes, the servants would live at the houses of their employers. On Mothering Sunday, the servants would have the day off and were encouraged to return home and spend the day with their mothers.

A special cake, called the mothering cake, was often brought along to provide a festive touch.



Modern day

Today, Mothers Day is celebrated all over the World and although the celebration itself can take on a variety of guises there is one constant, the celebration of the Mother and motherhood.

So even if you sometimes feel that life doesn’t offer you a moments rest, take time to consider treating that special person this Mothers Day.Here are just a few examples of how other countries celebrate.

U.S.A. The U.S celebrates Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May. Julia Ward Howe first issued her Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870 as a call for women to join in support of disarmament. In the 1880s and 1890s there were several further attempts to establish an American Mother’s Day, but these didn’t catch on.

The current holiday was created by Anna Jarvis in Grafton, West Virginia, in 1908 as a day to honour ‘one’s mother’. Mother’s Day took off so well in the U.S that Jarvis became a discenter due to the increased commercialization of her day. In the United States, Mother’s Day remains one of the biggest days for sales of owers and greeting cards.

Italy Mother’s Day in Italy was celebrated for the first time on 12 May 1957, in the city of Assisi, thanks to the initiative of Rev. Otello Migliosi, parish priest of the Tordibetto church. This celebration was so successful that the following year it was adopted throughout Italy, where since then it is usually celebrated on the second Sunday in May.

Germany Although the Germans celebrate Mother’s Day in a similar fashion to us now, back in the 1920′s ‘Muttertag’ was introduced as a way to increase the countries low birthrate. The ‘Mutterkreuz’ or Mother’s Cross was awarded to Mothers of 4 or more with the Gold award going to mothers with at least 8 children

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