The History of Mother's Day
Discover the Origins of Mother's Day

The history of how the modern Mother's Day began varies across the world.  However, what is agreed is that the origins date all the way back to ancient Greece when the Greeks held spring celebrations in honour of Rhea, the mother of the Gods.

The first records of a modern European Mother's Day come from 17th century England.  At that time, many of the English poor worked as servants in the houses of relatively rich families.  Most of these jobs were located at a considerable distance from the servants' own homes, so the servants were given accommodation at their employers' houses, and effectively lived with their employers. 

On the fourth sunday after Lent, the servants were given the day off so that they could spend the day with their mothers.  During these visits a special cake, known as a Mothering Cake was often brought along as a gift, and to provide a special festive touch.  This became known as "Mothering Sunday", and the mothers of England are still honoured on the fourth sunday after Lent even to this day.

In the USA however, Mother's Day is held on the second Sunday of May.  The first seeds of Mother's Day in the USA were laid in 1858 by a young Appalacian named Anna Jarvis, who organised "Mother's Work Days" to help improve sanitation and to help avert disease and death from polluted water and insect pests.  She also tried to establish "Mother's Friendship Days as a way to try to heal the scars of the American Civil War.

In 1872, Julia Ward Howe from Boston, Massachusetts, suggsted the idea of an annual Mother's Day, shortly after the end of the Franco-Prussian War.  She felt the war was a return to barbarism which could have easily been settled without bloodshed, and wrote the "Battle Hymn of the Republic", imploring mothers across the world to unite in the cause for world peace.  Each year after 1872, Julia Ward Howe held Mother's Day meetings in Boston to advocate international peace.

Meanwhile, Anna Jarvis' Daughter who had been born in 1866 and who was also named Anna, was regularly attending Sunday school.  In 1878, at the age of 12, Anna M. Jarvis heard her mother teach a Sunday school lesson regarding mothers in the Bible.  The senior Anna told of how she hoped and prayed that someone would found a memorial mother's day, pointing out that "There are many days for men, but none for mothers."

On the second Sunday in May, 1907, on the second anniversary of her mother's death, Anna M Jarvis arranged for a service to be held to celebrate Mother's Day in her mother's church in Grafton, West Virginia.  She was so moved by the service that she and her supporters began a massive campaign to try to obtain offical recognition of a nationally celebrated Mother's Day.  After writing thousands of letters to prominent businessmen, ministers and politicians (including President William Taft and the previous President, Theodore Roosevelt), Anna Jarvis was succesful in persuading the governor of West Virginia to proclaim an official "Mother's Day" in 1912.  The following year, the governor of Pennsylvania did the same.  Finally, in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a resolution of the US congress proclaiming a holiday on the second Sunday in May of each year to celebrate Mother's Day.

Other countries across the world now celebrate Mother' Day too, and although many celebrate on different dates, some such as Belgium, Italy, Denmark, Finland, Turkey, and Australia also use the second Sunday in May, in line with the USA. 

Mother's Day continues to be a day to remind us how our mothers care and love us, and to remember to try to return that love in some small way, not just on Mother's Day, but every day of the year.

You can show your mother you love her with quality Mother's Day gifts from a range of carefully selected sources. Piglette continuously searches the internet by hand (or should that be by hoof?) to bring you the very best quality flowers and gifts at great prices.  Gifts have been our speciality since 1998 so you can be sure we've got some great stuff to introduce to you.

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