|Observed by||40+ countries|
|Significance||Honors mothers and motherhood|
|Date||Varies per country|
|Related to||Children's Day, Siblings Day, Father's Day, Parents' Day, Grandparents' Day|
Mother's Day is a celebration honoring the mother of the family or individual, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. It is celebrated on different days in many parts of the world, most commonly in the months of March or May. It complements similar celebrations, largely pushed by commercial interests, honoring family members, such as Father's Day, Siblings Day, and Grandparents Day.
While some countries have a multi-century history of a day to celebrate mothers, the modern American version of the holiday began in the United States in the early 20th century at the initiative of Anna Jarvis, who organized the first Mother's Day service of worship and celebration at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia, which serves as the International Mother's Day Shrine today. It is not directly related to the many traditional celebrations of mothers and motherhood that have existed throughout the world over thousands of years, such as the Greek cult to Cybele, the mother deity Rhea, the Roman festival of Hilaria, or the other Christian ecclesiastical Mothering Sunday celebration (associated with the image of Mother Church). However, in some countries, Mother's Day is still synonymous with these older traditions.
The American version of Mother's Day has been criticized for having become too commercialized. Jarvis herself, who began the celebration as a liturgical observance, regretted this commercialism and expressed that this was never her intention. In response, Constance Adelaide Smith successfully advocated for Mothering Sunday as a commemoration of a broader definition of motherhood in many other parts of the English-speaking world.
She organized the first official Mother's Day service at Andrews Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia, on the morning of May 10, 1908. That same afternoon, 15,000 people attended a Mother's Day service at the Wanamaker Store Auditorium in Philadelphia, which she also organized. Jarvis chose the second Sunday in May for Mother's Day to mark the anniversary of her mother's death and selected her mother's favorite flower, the white carnation, as the day's official emblem.
Mother's Day, conceived by Anna Jarvis to honor unselfish mothers (...) Although there is no direct lineal descent to our modern Mother's Day custom, secular and religious motherhood have existed for thousands of years before 10 May 1908: the first church – St. Andrew's in Grafton, West Virginia – responded to her request for a Sunday service honoring mothers . Cybele (...)
Although attempts have been made to link Mother's Day to ancient cults of the mother goddess, especially the worship of Cybele, the association is more conceptual than historic. Mother's Day is a modern, American invention.
Our observance of Mother's Day is little more than half a century old [this was written in 1972], yet the nature of the holiday makes it seem as if it had its roots in prehistoric times. Many antiquarians, holiday enthusiasts, and students of folklore have claimed to find the source of Mother's Day in the ancient spring festivals dedicated to the mother goddess, particularly the worship of Cybele.
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