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For many families around the world and throughout history, it has traditionally been the mother who has the often thankless job of keeping the family and household running. Starting with lending their bodies to house babies before they are even born, mothers have a tendency to give up a lot for their families and are rarely given the accolades they deserve.

So, Mother’s Day is the perfect opportunity each year to remind Mom how much she is loved, appreciated and noticed. (Of course, she will certainly be happy to be appreciated at other times of year as well!)

Get ready to learn about and celebrate Mother’s Day

History of Mother’s Day

Though the celebration of mothers can be traced back to Ancient Greece, part of the tradition came about in the United Kingdom and Europe as a celebration during Lent, called “Mothering Sunday”. While the tradition here was more about churchgoers visiting with their “mother” church on this day, it eventually morphed into something more like Mother’s Day, except it usually happens in March.

The modern version of Mother’s Day in May was started in the United States in the early 1900s. The original impetus behind the day was the work of Anna Jarvis, who had the idea of a day for honoring mothers after her own mother died in 1905. The first day was organized in 1907 as a worship gathering at an Episcopal church in West Virginia. Later, Jarvis becomes a bit upset by the commercialization of the holiday.

By 1914, the day was made official when US President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure declaring Mother’s Day to be celebrated on the second Sunday in the month of May. The day has gained popularity throughout North America as well as other parts of the world, although it is not always celebrated in the month of May.

Mother’s Day Timeline

700-500 BC

Ancient Greeks hold spring festivals for Mothers 

Of course different from modern celebrations, spring festivals honor the maternal goddess, Rhea, as well as all mothers.[1]

16th Century

Mothering Sunday originates in UK 

This begins as a strictly religious event where people attend their “mother church” on the fourth Sunday of Lent, which is often in March. Eventually, it will morph into something a bit more of a day where mothers are celebrated.[2]

1868

Mothers’ Friendship Day is created 

Working toward reconciliation after the Civil War, activist Anna Jarvis organizes a day where mother’s gather former soldiers from both the Union and Confederate armies to promote peace.[3]

1914

First official Mother’s Day is created in US

United States President, Woodrow Wilson, agrees to the influence of activist Anna Jarvis and declares the second Sunday in May of each year to be Mother’s Day.[4]

1920s

France awards medals to Mothers 

In an effort to acknowledge the work toward rebuilding the population after the first World War, mothers of large families in France are given medals.[5]

How to Celebrate Mother’s Day

Mom really deserves some accolades and love on this day! Mother’s Day can be observed and celebrated in a variety of ways, for people who have mothers, those who are mothers, or just those who are looking for a reason to celebrate! Take a look at some of these ideas for celebrating the day:

Show Appreciation to a Mother

One of the best things about Mother’s Day is that it is a reminder to let a mom, mother, mum or mommy know how much she is loved and cared for! This can be done through a simple phone call, text message, card or letter. And it doesn’t have to be limited to a person’s own mom either. This is a great day to let any woman–mom, grandma, aunt or friend–know that she’s had a positive impact on the world around her.

Get Outside with Mom

Because Mother’s Day takes place in late spring, it’s an excellent time to get outdoors and enjoy the beautiful weather! Maybe this means taking a simple walk in the park with Mom, or going on a hike in the mountains. Or it could mean heading to the garden store to pick up some flowers, plants or trees that can then be planted in the garden or placed in containers on the patio!

Watch a Mother-Daughter or Mother-Son Movie

Spend some quality time with Mom by hunkering down with a feel-good film around the theme of a mother’s relationship with her daughter or son. Go ahead and pop some popcorn and then try out one of these movie titles to get started:

  • Because I Said So (2007). Starring Mandy Moore, Diane Keaton and Lauren Graham, this film features an over-zealous mother who interferes in her daughter’s love life.
  • The Blind Side (2009). Based on a true story, this movie starring Sandra Bullock and Quinton Aaron shows the way that a woman who was not his birth mother can still care and love a young man.
  • Mama Mia! (2008). This fun, musical comedy based on a Broadway show stars Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried and features the relationship between a single mother and her daughter searching for her father before getting married.
  • Little Man Tate (1991). A family drama starring Jodie Foster, Little Man Tate features the story of a working-class mom and her seven-year-old son who is a genius.

Throw a Party for Mother’s Day

If the mom who is being celebrated loves to be surrounded by the people she loves, then this is a great time to have a little family get-together to celebrate mom. Choose a theme that would speak to Mom, whether it’s a garden tea party, a costume party, a board games party, or a rave with a disco ball.

Whatever the chosen theme, all it takes is some clever decorations, tasty food that she would enjoy (homemade or catered in), her favorite music, and perhaps some entertainment that would bring her delight. Whatever is chosen, be sure to put the people she loves most on the guest list!

Create a Playlist for Mother’s Day

What better way to show a mother how much she is loved than to make her a playlist of her own? Spotify, Pandora or even an old-fashioned mix tape filled with tunes that she’ll enjoy throughout the year. Here are a few songs suggestions to get started on that playlist for Mom:

  • Turn to You (Mother’s Day Dedication) by Justin Bieber (2012). Released two days before Mother’s Day, this one is Justin’s song for his own mom.
  • Decatur, or, Round of Applause for your Stepmother! by Sufjan Stephens (2005). From his album called Illinois, this song is a tribute to the often difficult job that it is to be a stepmother.
  • The Wish by Bruce Springsteen (1987). This song by ‘the Boss’ tells the story of the way that his mother sacrificed to buy him a cheap guitar when he was a little boy.
  • Nobody Loves Me But My Mother by BB King (1971). Beginning as just a short fragment that opened up for an album, this song eventually grew into a rather famous one.

Share Memories About Mom

Those who have lost a mother might still want to observe the holiday by taking flowers to her grave, enjoying some of her favorite pastimes, looking through old photos and simply sharing the memory of her with family members.

Mother’s Day FAQs

When was the first Mother’s Day?

The first Mother’s Day in America was created by Woodrow Wilson in 1914, but something similar, Mothering Sunday, had been in existence since the 16th century in the UK.[1]

Is Mother’s Day International? 

Mother’s Day is a holiday that is celebrated on the second Sunday of May in the US, Australia, Italy, Denmark, Switzerland and many other countries. In the UK, they have Mother’s Day, also known as Mothering Sunday, celebrated in March. In some Latin American countries, it is on May 10, and in Thailand on August 12th.[2]

Is Mother’s Day different in the UK?

Mother’s Day in the UK, also known as Mothering Sunday, is celebrated each year exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday, which means it usually falls in March.[3]

Where did Mother’s Day originate?

Mother’s Day has a couple of different origins, based on different locations. In the US, it was first established in 1914. Its ‘Mothering Sunday’ origins in the UK were revived around the same time and by the 1950s it was celebrated throughout the Commonwealth.[4]

Does Mother’s Day change every year?

In many countries, the date of Mother’s Day changes each year because it must fall on the second Sunday in May in the US or the third Sunday before Easter in the UK. Some countries in Latin America always celebrate it on May 10.[5]

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