By: Jasna Aleksandrova
We are approaching the 100th Mother’s Day as an official holiday. While you are counting out your flower budget and placing your orders, join us in a journey to learn more about our holiday which honors motherhood.
Did you know that 50 countries in the world celebrate Mother’s Day? The way and the date vary depending on each country’s tradition of celebrating Mother’s Day. If we look at India, they celebrate their mothers in October, but instead of just celebrating for one day, they celebrate for 10. In Thailand, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the birthday of the queen, Sirikit, which is in August. Mothering Sunday has been celebrated in the United Kingdom since the 16th century on the 4th Sunday of Lent. Ancient Greeks and Romans held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses.
Why a Mother’s Day? President Woodrow Wilson declared it as a national holiday, as a result of the efforts of Anna Jarvis. Following her mother’s death, she wanted to honor the sacrifices that mothers make for their children, and to create a day of prayer and reflection for the role that mothers play in families and society. With the financial help from one department store owner, in May 1908 Anna Jarvis organized the first official Mother’s Day celebration at a Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia. As a symbol of appreciation, she wore a Carnation: a colored one if the person’s mother is living and a white one if the mother has passed away. The Carnation remains a popular symbol of Mother’s Day to this day.
As the first Mother’s Day was a success, it inspired Anna to work towards getting her holiday added to the national calendar. Through a letter writing campaign to newspapers and politicians, she argued that American holidays were biased toward male achievements. Jarvis spent the latter part of her life trying to remove Mother’s Day from the calendar. She was appalled at the commercialization of the day and actually went to court to have it removed as a holiday – a battle she lost!
Interesting mom stories. The Russian lady Valentina Vassilyeva should definitively be celebrated as a mother because between 1725 and 1765 she gave birth to 69 children. She has had sixteen pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets and four sets of quadruplets. Satyabhama Mahapatra, a 65-year-old lady from India, gave birth to a baby boy. Elizabeth Ann Buttle’s two children were born 41 years 185 days apart.
How do we honor our mothers? In the United States, Mother’s Day is usually celebrated by presenting mothers and other women with gifts and flowers. It is amazing how much we spend on this holiday alone. Last year, Americans spent $671 million on cards, $1.9 million on flowers, and $126 million on gifts in general. Approximately 122 million phone calls were made to moms last year. It is also common to give our mothers a break from the daily activities like cooking and cleaning. Mother’s Day is a great opportunity to reflect and thank mothers for all that they have done. No matter how you choose to thank your mother, she will be grateful that you did so.