Mothers Day, which is celebrated on 10th March this year (in the United Kingdom – the 4th Sunday of Lent) was invented in the United States in the early twentieth century. This celebration is not actually descended from the Christian Mothering Sunday or any of the many Saint Hubert Medals other religious and world celebrations of motherhood.
In 1908 in America, Anne Jarvis held a memorial service for her mother. After this she started campaigning to have a special national holiday in aid of honouring mothers, Mothers Day. By 1914 she had managed to get this day recognised by the Government and signed off by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. The tradition caught on around the world and it became custom to give mothers day cards & mothers day gifts to mothers, grandmothers and maternal figure on this day. Business was keen on using the celebration to gain many sales and by the 1920’s Anna Jarvis was disappointed by the day’s commercialisation. She spent the rest of her life and all of her family’s inheritance campaigning against the commercialisation of the day, even being arrested in 1946 for disturbing the peace. She seems to have been rather a busy body. She saw the giving of greetings cards as too lazy to write your own message and eventually said she wished she never started the day. Perhaps she would have approved of giving a personalised mothers day gift. However it is likely the tradition would have soon faded away if it were not for the promotion of it by various businesses such as the florists.
The tradition has been adopted by many countries around the world and many have given the day a different date to coincide with existing religious holidays honoring mothers such as here in Britain where it coincides with Mothering Sunday.
Mothering Sunday evolved from the 16th-century Christian practice of visiting one’s mother church annually on Laetare Sunday. As a result of this tradition, most mothers were reunited with their children on this day when young apprentices and young women in service were released by their masters for that weekend. Influenced by the Americans coming over in World War II Mothering Sunday merged with Mothers day and is now a lot more about showing appreciation for your mother and buying flowers and gifts then it is about religion. The traditions of the two holidays are now mixed together and celebrated on the same day, although many people are not aware that the festivities were once separate holidays.