Mother’s Day 2024: Facts, history and trivia; everything you need to know

Mother’s Day is a special day dedicated to remember, honour and celebrate mothers worldwide. As a wise saying goes, ‘You don’t have to give birth to a child to become a mother.’ This day is about cherishing the mother figures in your life who nurtured, protected and unconditionally loved you. This day is for all the mothers who never hesitated to give up on their comfort and happiness to bring a smile to their young ones’ faces. Today, let’s give a big hug to all the mothers in our lives and tell them how much they mean to us. Let the smiles of all the mothers shine this Mother’s Day!

A bit of history…

In the early 20th century America, social activist Anna Jarvis sought to create an official day dedicated to mothers. In honour of her beloved mother, Ann Jarvis, who worked tirelessly to unite the mothers during and following the civil war, she held a memorial service in 1907. This act sparked a movement across the states in the US and in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson declared the second Sunday of May a national holiday to celebrate Mother’s Day. Jarvis’s vision of Mother’s Day was a day of sincere and genuine appreciation of mothers, symbolised by a white carnation flower. 

Global traditions of honouring motherhood

Long before gifting flowers and greeting cards, civilisations around the world held festivals in honour of mothers and mother goddesses. The Phrygians, an ancient Anatolian group, celebrated Cybele, the Great Mother of the Gods, associated with fertility and nature. Similarly, the Greeks held festivals honouring Rhea, the Titan goddess who birthed the Pantheon of Olympian gods. These celebrations reflected the deep respect and love for motherhood, ingrained in many cultures around the world. 

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Fast forward to the Middle Ages in Europe, a tradition emerged during lent, on Laetare Sunday, when people returned to their home parishes, often to reunite with their family. This came to be called ‘Mothering Sunday’ and it became a time for people to visit their mothers and express their love and gratitude. 

In India, Shakti or power is worshipped as a goddess or the universal mother. Most of the festivals like Durga puja, Lakshmi puja and Navratri revolve around honouring and celebrating mothers in the form of goddesses. 

However, today, while commercialisation might overshadow the original intention, it’s still a day used by many of us to express our love and appreciation to the mothers and mother figures in our lives. The true spirit of Mother’s day lies not in the grandeur of gifts and celebration, but in the quiet moments of deep connection and gratitude. 

10 Facts to Remember about the Evolution of Mother’s Day Celebrations:

1. Mother’s Day doesn’t fall on the same date every year, but it is on the second Sunday of May.

2. Juliet Calhoun Blakely of Albion, Michigan, pioneered Mother’s Day in the 1800s. She and her sons observed the day annually and encouraged others to join them.

3. Greeting Cards are consistently popular Mother’s Day gifts.

4. Determined to make Mother’s Day a national holiday, Anna Jarvis formed the Mother’s Day International Association.

5. Durga-Puja, a ten-day festival held in India, around October, is a significant celebration honouring and celebrating the mother goddess, Durga. 

6. Julia Ward Howe, a prominent American peacemaker and poet, is recognized for her contribution in marking Mother’s Day with her work “Appeal to Womanhood Throughout the World,” which later became known as the “Mother’s Day Proclamation”.

7. Anna Jarvis used carnations to honour the mothers in her church, and the tradition blossomed into the official Mother’s Day flower. Today, the colours hold significant meaning: red carnations celebrate living mothers, while white ones honour those who have passed away.

8. Disheartened by the commercialisation that overshadowed the holiday’s original sentiment, Anna Jarvis actively fought against it. She even criticised the First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt for using Mother’s Day as a fundraising platform.

9. Mother’s Day holds the record for most phone calls made in a single day in the United States.

10. Many mothers opt to dine out and enjoy a celebratory meal on Mother’s Day, making it the busiest day of the year for restaurants.

Let’s celebrate this Mother’s Day by appreciating the profound impact that mothers have on our lives. Their unwavering dedication, love, and strength are the cornerstones of every healthy and thriving society.

To all the beautiful mothers, who get up everyday with the greatest lifetime responsibility-motherhood- one that never becomes less demanding and never leaves you, no matter how much time has passed or how grown your children have become, you have no retirement from this role. Thank you for being the greatest warriors who lead us in our path of life, whose hold tightens whenever we are about to fall, who carry us when we are tired of our responsibilities. 

To the amazing woman who buried her needs, fears, discomfort and was reborn to become a mother, who taught us the first letter, who was the proudest with our first step, who cried with us on the first day of our school, who stood by our side at each milestone covered, thank you for being our home and we are proud of you. Happy Mother’s Day.