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Mother's Day

Mother's Day is a day honoring mothers, celebrated on various days in many places around the world. It complements Father's Day, the celebration honoring fathers.

History

Different countries celebrate Mother's Day on various days of the year because the day has a number of different origins.

One school of thought claims this day emerged from a custom of mother worship in ancient Greece, which kept a festival to Cybele, a great mother of Greek gods. This festival was held around the Vernal Equinox around Asia Minor and eventually in Rome itself from the Ides of March (15 March) to 18 March.

The ancient Romans also had another holiday, Matronalia, that was dedicated to Juno, though mothers were usually given gifts on this day.

In addition to Mother's Day, International Women's Day is celebrated in many countries, most often on March 8.

Spelling

In 1912, Anna Jarvis trademarked the phrases "second Sunday in May" and "Mother's Day".

This is also the spelling used by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson's on the law making official the holiday on the US, by U.S. Congress on bills, and by other U.S. President on their declarations.

Common usage in english language also dictates that the ostensibly singular possessive "Mother's Day" is the preferred spelling.

Dates around the world

Mother's Day is celebrated on different days throughout the world. Examining the trends in Google searches for the term "mother's day" shows two primary results, the smaller one on the fourth Sunday in Lent (it is also called ladies day and women's day), and the larger one on the second Sunday in May.

The extent of the celebrations varies greatly. In some countries, it is potentially offensive to one's mother not to mark Mother's Day. In others, it is a little-known festival celebrated mainly by immigrants, or covered by the media as a taste of foreign culture (compare the celebrations of Diwali in the UK and the US).

''Note: Countries that celebrate International Women's Day are marked with a cross '†'.

Occurrence Dates Country
Second Sunday of February February 10 2008
February 8 2009
February 14 2010
Norway
February 2 Greece
Shevat 30
(Falls anywhere between January 30 and March 1)
Israel
March 3 Georgia
March 8 Afghanistan
Albania
Armenia
Azerbaijan
Belarus
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bulgaria
Laos
Macedonia
Moldova
Montenegro
Romania
Russia
Serbia
Fourth Sunday in Lent March 2 2008
March 22 2009
March 14 2010
Ireland
Nigeria
United Kingdom
March 21
(vernal equinox)
Bahrain
Egypt
Iraq
Jordan
Kuwait
Oman
Lebanon
Palestine
Qatar
Saudi Arabia
Sudan
Syria
United Arab Emirates
Yemen (All Arab countries in general)
March 25 Slovenia
April 7 Armenia
April 2
(Chinese calendar)
China
Baisakh Amavasya (Mata Tirtha Aunsi) Nepal
First Sunday of May May 4 2008
May 3 2009
May 2 2010
Hungary
Lithuania*
Portugal
Spain
May 8 Albania (Parents' Day)
South Korea (Parents' Day)
May 10 El Salvador
Guatemala
Mexico
Second Sunday of May May 11 2008
May 10 2009
May 9 2010
Anguilla
Aruba
Australia
Austria
Bahamas
Bangladesh
Barbados
Belgium
Belize
Bermuda
Bonaire
Brazil
Brunei
Bulgaria
Canada
Chile
Mainland China
Republic of China (Taiwan)
Colombia
Croatia
Cuba
Curaçao
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Ecuador
Estonia
Finland
Germany
Ghana
Greece
Grenada
Honduras
Hong Kong
Iceland
India
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Latvia*
Malta
Malaysia
Myanmar
The Netherlands
New Zealand
Pakistan
Peru
Philippines
Puerto Rico
Slovakia
South Africa
St. Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Sint Maarten
Singapore
Suriname
Switzerland
Trinidad and Tobago
Turkey
Ukraine
United States
Uruguay
Venezuela
Zimbabwe
May 15 Paraguay
May 26 Poland
May 27 Bolivia
Last Sunday of May May 25 2008
May 31 2009
May 30 2010
Algeria
Dominican Republic
France (First Sunday of June if Pentecost occurs on this day)
French Antilles (First Sunday of June if Pentecost occurs on this day)
Haiti
Mauritius
Morocco
Sweden
Tunisia
May 30 Nicaragua
June 1 Mongolia† (The Mothers and Children's Day.)
Second Sunday of June June 8 2008
June 14 2009
June 13 2010
Luxembourg
Last Sunday of June June 29 2008
June 28 2009
June 27 2009
Kenya
August 12 Thailand (the birthday of Queen Sirikit Kitiyakara)
August 15 (Assumption Day) Antwerp (Belgium)
Costa Rica
Second Monday of October October 13 2008
October 12 2009
October 11 2010
Malawi
October 14 Belarus
Third Sunday of October October 19 2008
October 18 2009
October 17 2010
Argentina (Día de la Madre)
Last Sunday of November November 30 2008
November 29 2009
November 28 2010
Russia
December 8 Panama
20 Jumada al-thani June 23 2008 Iran
December 22 Indonesia

International history and traditions

In most countries, Mother's Day is a recent observance derived from the holiday as it has evolved in North America and Europe. Many African countries adopted the idea of one Mother's Day from the British tradition, although there are many festivals and events celebrating mothers within the many diverse cultures on the African continent that long pre-date colonization.

Japan

Mother's Day in Japan was initially commemorated during the Shōwa period as the birthday of Empress Kōjun (mother of Emperor Akihito). Nowadays - as in the United States - the holiday is a heavily marketed concept, and people typically give flowers such as carnations and roses as gifts.

China

In China, in recent years some people began to advocate for the official adoption of Mother's Day in memory of Meng Mu, the mother of Mèng Zǐ. It remains an unofficial festival, except in a small number of cities.

Greece

Mother's Day in Greece corresponds to the Eastern Orthodox feast day of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. Since the Theotokos (The Mother of God) appears prominently in this feast as the one who brought Christ to the Temple at Jerusalem, this feast is associated with mothers.

Iran

Celebrated on 20 Jumada al-thani, the birthday anniversary of Hazrat Fatemeh Zahra (SA), the beloved daughter of Prophet Mohammad. It was changed after the Iranian revolution, the reason having been theorized as trying to undercut feminist movements and promoting role models for the traditional model of family. It was previously 25 Azar on Iranian calendar during the shah era

United Kingdom and Ireland

In the United Kingdom and Ireland, Mothering Sunday, also called "Mother's Day", falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent (exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday). It is believed to have originated from the 16th century Christian practice of visiting one's mother church annually, which meant that most mothers would be reunited with their children on this day. Most historians believe that young apprentices and young women in servitude were released by their masters that weekend in order to visit their families. As a result of secularisation, it is now principally used to show appreciation to one's mother, although it is still recognised in the historical sense by some churches, with attention paid to Mary the mother of Jesus Christ as well as the traditional concept 'Mother Church'.

Mothering Sunday can fall at the earliest on 1 March (in years when Easter Day falls on 22 March) and at the latest on 4 April (when Easter Day falls on 25 April).

United States

North America celebrates Mother's Day on the second Sunday in May. In the United States, Mother's Day was inspired by the British day and was imported by social activist Julia Ward Howe after the American Civil War. However, it was intended as a call to unite women against war. In 1870, she wrote the Mother's Day Proclamation as a call for peace and disarmament. Howe failed in her attempt to get formal recognition of a Mother's Day for Peace.

Her idea was influenced by Ann Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker who, starting in 1858, had attempted to improve sanitation through what she called Mother's Work Days. She organized women throughout the Civil War to work for better sanitary conditions for both sides, and in 1868 she began work to reconcile Union and Confederate neighbors.

Frank E. Hering, President of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, made the first known public plea for "a national day to honor our mothers" in 1904.

When Jarvis died in 1905, her daughter, named Anna Jarvis, started the crusade to found a memorial day for women. In 1907, she passed out 500 white carnations at her mother’s church, St. Andrew’s Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia—one for each mother in the congregation. The first Mother's Day service was celebrated on 10 May 1908, in the same church where the elder Ann Jarvis had taught Sunday School. Anna chose Sunday to be Mother's Day because she intended the day to be commemorated and treated as a Holy Day.

Originally the Andrew's Methodist Episcopal Church, the site of the original Mother's Day commemoration, where Anna handed out carnations, this building is now the International Mother's Day Shrine (a National Historic Landmark). From there, the custom caught on—spreading eventually to 46 states. The holiday was declared officially by some states beginning in 1912, beginning with West Virginia. In 8 May 1914, the U.S. Congress passed a law designating the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day and requesting a proclamation. In May 9, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson made that proclamation, declaring the first national Mother's Day, as a day for American citizens to show the flag in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war.

Carnations have come to represent Mother's Day, since they were delivered at one of its first celebrations by its founder. This also started the custom of wearing a carnation on Mother's Day. A colored flower, usually red, indicates the person's mother is living, and a white flower that she is not. The founder, Anna Jarvis, gave a different meaning to the colors. She only delivered a single white carnation to every person, a symbol of the purity of a mother's love.

In May 2008, the US House of Representatives voted twice on a resolution commemorating Mother's Day, , the first one being unanimous so that all congressmen would be on record showing support for Mother's Day.

Commercialization

Nine years after the first official Mother's Day, commercialization of the U.S. holiday became so rampant that Anna Jarvis herself became a major opponent of what the holiday had become and spent all her inheritance and the rest of her life fighting what she saw as an abuse of the celebration.

Later commercial and other exploitations of the use of Mother's Day infuriated Anna and she made her criticisms explicitly known throughout her time. She criticized the practice of purchasing greeting cards, which she saw as a sign of being too lazy to write a personal letter. She was arrested in 1948 for disturbing the peace while protesting against the comercialization of Mother's Day, and she finally said that she "wished she would have never started the day because it became so out of control ...".

Mother's Day continues to this day to be one of the most commercially successful U.S. occasions. According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother's Day is now the most popular day of the year to dine out at a restaurant in the United States.

For example, according to IBISWorld, a publisher of business research, Americans will spend approximately $2.6 billion on flowers, $1.53 billion on pampering gifts—like spa treatments—and another $68 million on greeting cards.

Mother's Day will generate about 7.8% of the US jewelry industry's annual revenue in 2008. Americans are expected to spend close to $3.51 billion in 2008 on dining out for Mother's Day, with brunch and dinner being the most popular dining out options.

See also

References

External links

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