Calendar Days: Mother's Day History
Calendar Days: Mother's Day History

Calendar Days: Mother's Day History

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Commemorating the importance of mothers to society is a relatively recent trend: in the United Kingdom, Mothering Sunday originated more as a religious celebration during Lent. Children came to honor their mothers on this day, by visiting them and sometimes baking a simnel cake. This influenced American Mother’s Day. First, a day uniting women against war gained steam, and by the early twentieth century, individual states began adopting official Mother’s Days. In this video, learns more about the history and origins of Mother’s Day. Be sure to check out the site for some great recipe and gift ideas to make your mom feel special this year!

History of Mother’s Day

Celebrating mothers and their contributions to society is a relatively recent phenomenon, at least in North America. Ancient cultures paid tribute to mothers, and likened them to goddesses.

Different Dates Around the World

Today, mother’s day is celebrated on different days in different countries. In the United Kingdom, Mothering Sunday falls on the fourth Sunday during Lent. However, the day most commonly used throughout the world is the second Sunday in May.

Britain’s Mothering Sunday

Mothering Sunday in Britain did not originate as a celebration of motherhood, but as a religious occasion during Lent. Children, mainly daughters, were given a day off to visit their mothers and families. Daughters who were working as domestics used this day to show their skills to their mothers, usually by baking them a simnel cake. Also, people would return to “mother church” for a special service on that fourth Sunday during Lent. Today, the day is primarily used to give thanks to mothers, although some churches in Britain still recognize it as a religious day.

American Mother’s Day

Mothering Sunday served as a precursor to American Mother’s Day. The event was founded in the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. And, it was arguably founded by two different women.

Julia Ward Howe

The first was Julia Ward Howe, who prompted a Mother’s Day for Peace to be held on June 2nd, 1872, as a way to unite women against war. By the next year, women were celebrating in 18 cities across the U.S. For the next ten years, Howe continued to fund festivities in Boston, but when she stopped subsidizing the event it eventually phased out.

Anna Jarvis

In 1905, a woman named Anna Jarvis decided to follow the dream of her recently-deceased mother to create a national day to honor moms. After much lobbying, Jarvis’ home state of West Virginia adopted an official Mother’s Day in 1912, and two years later U.S. congress established a national Mother’s Day, the same one we observe now.

Mother’s Day Traditions

Today, Mother’s Day celebrations often see children making breakfast for their mothers, buying flowers, gifts or candy, and – of course – a greeting card. More phone calls are made on Mother’s Day in the U.S. than any other day of the year, and it is also the busiest day of the year for restaurants.

Pamper Your Mom!

So make this Mother’s Day count: tune in to for lots of recipe and gift ideas to make your mom feel special this year!