Many people remember their mothers and mother figures (stepmothers, mothers-in-law, foster parents) on Mother’s Day. This holiday falls on different days depending on the country where it is celebrated. Most often it is held on the second Sunday of May in countries like Australia, Canada and the USA. In the UK it is held exactly 3 weeks before Easter Sunday. It is an annual public holiday in Costa Rica (August 15), Samoa (second Monday of May), Thailand (August 12) and Georgia (March 3). In Egypt and several other Arab countries, Mother’s Day falls on March 21, the first day of spring.
Mother’s Day celebrations can be dated to ancient Greek civilization, when during spring celebration Rhea, Mother of all Gods, was honored. The modern-day origins can be attributed to Julia Ward Howe and Anna Jarvis, who were important figures in establishing the tradition in the United States. Around 1870 Julia Ward Howe called for Mother’s Day to be celebrated each year. It continued to be held in Boston for about 10 years under her sponsorship but died out after that. Other sources say that Juliet Calhoun Blakely initiated Mother’s Day in Albion, Michigan in the late 1800s. Her sons paid tribute to her each year and encouraged others to do so to honor their mothers. In 1907 in Grafton, West Virginia, Anna Jarvis held a private Mother’s Day celebration in memory of her mother. In 1908 she played a key role in arranging a church service hat attracted 407 children and mothers. In 1912 Mother’s Day International Association was founded in order to promote this holiday in countries around the world.
The traditions of celebrating Mother’s Day differ in various cultures and countries. In most European countries cars and flowers are bestowed and family dinners are held. On the second Sunday of May, an increasing number of Chinese celebrate the day with gifts and festivities. As early as the 16th century, the UK observed Mothering Sunday on the fourth Sunday of Lent, when families gathered to attend church. In the early 20th century, Mothering Sunday was fused with Hallmark-card-giving American holiday, but it was retained its traditional name. May 10 is the busiest day of the year for Mexican restaurants. Flowers are a must, but the day is also filled with music, food and celebrations. In the former Soviet Union, mothers were celebrated on March 8 (International Women’s Day), which is now an internationally-observed day to honor women and reflect on gender equality. In 1998, post-Soviet Russia introduced Mother’s Day on the last Sunday in November, but most of the gift giving still happens in March.
Nowadays many people believe that Mother’s Day is largely commercialized with card companies, flower shops, jewellery stores, gift shops, restaurants, hotels and department stores advertising promotions and special deals for this event. From one point of view, it can be true, but as long as we remember the true value of motherhood and what really this holiday celebrates, I see no reason why not to support the local economies on this special day.