In Australia, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. The tradition of giving gifts to mothers on Mother's Day in Australia was started by Janet Heyden, a resident of Leichhardt, Sydney, in 1924. She began the tradition during a visit to a patient at the Newington State Home for Women, where she met many lonely and forgotten mothers. To cheer them up, she rounded up support from local schoolchildren and businesses to donate and bring gifts to the women. Every year thereafter, Mrs. Heyden raised increasing support for the project from local businesses and even the local Mayor. The day has since become commercialised. Traditionally, the chrysanthemum is given to mothers for Mother's Day as the flower is naturally in season during May and ends in "mum". Men often used to wear a chrysanthemum in their lapels in honour of their mothers, a practice sadly discontinued in the modern age.
The origin of Mother's Day goes back to the era of ancient Greeks and Romans. But the roots of Mother's Day history can also be traced in UK where a Mothering Sunday was celebrated much before the festival saw the light of day in Australia. However, the celebration of the festival as it is seen today is a recent phenomenon and not even a hundred years old.
It is thanks to the hard work of the pioneering women of their times, Julia Ward Howe and Anna Jarvis, that the day came into existence. Today the festival of Mother’s Day is celebrated across 46 countries (though on different dates) and is a hugely popular affair. Millions of people across the globe take the day as an opportunity to honour their mothers, thank them for their efforts in giving them life, raising them and being their constant support and well-wisher.
Earliest History of Mother's Day
The earliest history of Mother's Day dates back to the ancient annual spring festival the Greeks dedicated to maternal goddesses. The Greeks used the occasion to honour Rhea, wife of Cronus and the mother of many deities of Greek mythology.
Ancient Romans, too, celebrated a spring festival, called Hilaria dedicated to Cybele, a mother goddess. It may be noted that ceremonies in honour of Cybele began some 250 years before Christ was born. The celebration made on the Ides of March by making offerings in the temple of Cybele lasted for three days and included parades, games and masquerades. The celebrations were notorious enough that followers of Cybele were banished from Rome.
Early Christians celebrated a Mother's Day of sorts during the festival on the fourth Sunday of Lent in honour of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ. In England, the holiday was expanded to include all mothers. It was then called Mothering Sunday.
Present Day Celebrations
Nowadays, Mother’s Day is celebrated in several countries including US, UK, India, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Australia, Mexico, Canada, China, Japan and the Netherlands. People take the day as an opportunity to pay tribute to their mothers and thank them for all their love and support. The day has become hugely popular and in several countries phone lines witness maximum traffic. There is also a tradition of gifting flowers, cards and others gift to mothers on this day. The festival has become commercialised to a great extent. Florists, card manufacturers and gift sellers see huge business potential and make good money through a rigorous advertising campaign
Here’s to all mothers around the world!