Origin Story of Mother's Day

Honoring mothers dates as far back as the Romans in Ancient Greece where festivals honored the goddesses Rhea, the Titan Goddess of Motherhood, and Cybele, Great Mother of the Gods.

greek goddess

Fast forward to modern day 1800s, the UK celebrated Mothering Sunday originally where families honored their “mother church,” where they were baptized or their local church. Eventually the meaning transitioned into the more secular holiday of today, symbolized by the giving of small gifts and flowers to the mother of the family.

Mother’s Day here in America was the inspiration of Anna Jarvis, daughter of her peace activist mother Ann Jarvis, who died in the early 1900s. Anna, motivated by her deep love and admiration for her mother, successfully campaigned to make Mother's Day a recognized holiday in the United States. She symbolized the cherished holiday from the sweet memory of she and her mother tending the garden of her mother’s favorite flowers - white carnations - which became the official Mother’s Day Flower.

White Carnation

Since the early 20th century in America, celebrated on the second Sunday in May, people originally came together in celebration to honor the mother of the family. Mother’s Day isn’t just a day for mothers anymore. Over time, the holiday has expanded a broader reach to include anyone with whom we share sacred maternal bonds.

How will you honor your mom - or step-mom, mothers-in-law, wife, girlfriend, daughter, sister, grandmother, friend, godmother or even that special man who has been both your mom and dad?

Reminder: Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 9, 2021!


Contributor Carole Moritz

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