Mother’s Day Countdown
until May 14, 2017
Mother’s Day Facts and History
Mother’s Day is a holiday that is celebrated in the United States and around the world to honor the important role that mothers play in families. The holiday is a day when children and women’s partners thank them for all that they do throughout the year, and more than 40 countries celebrate it.
When Is Mother’s Day?
While many countries celebrate Mother’s Day, there is no universal date for the holiday. In the United States, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands and Turkey Mother’s Day is held on the second Sunday in May, while Lithuania, Portugal and Spain celebrate the holiday the week before. Several Middle Eastern countries observe Mother’s Day on May 10, and France and Sweden hold the holiday on the last Sunday in the month. Bulgaria’s Mother’s Day celebration is held on March 8 to coincide with International Women’s Day.
History of Mother’s Day in the U.S.
Celebrations of motherhood began in Ancient Greece and Rome with festivals held in honor of the goddesses of mothers. During the medieval times, Christians held a festival called Mothering Sunday on the fourth Sunday in Lent, a practice that the UK continues to this day with the timing of their Mother’s Day celebration.
During the Civil War in the United States, there was a move to celebrate the mothers and to promote peace. Women’s rights advocate Julia Ward Howe proposed the establishment of an annual Mother’s Peace Day that would take place on June 2 every year, but the idea never really took off.
It was a woman named Ann Reeves Jarvis who is credited for starting Mother’s Day in the United States. In 1908, she planned the first Mother’s Day celebration at her church in Grafton, West Virginia, and she lobbied for the day to be made an official holiday for years to come. Many states established the holiday due to her influence, and in 1914, the U.S. finally passed a law to make Mother’s Day an official holiday. Woodrow Wilson signed the bill that set the date as the second Sunday in May.
How Mother’s Day Is Celebrated in America
Roughly 84 percent of Americans celebrate Mother’s Day in some way every year. Modern day celebrations typically involve sending cards and gifts to mothers as tokens of appreciation for the things that they do. Every year, Americans spend more than $21 billion on Mother’s Day gifts with the average person spending $173 on their mothers. Greeting cards, gift cards, flowers, jewelry, books, spa visits and clothing are the most commonly purchased Mother’s Day gifts in the United States.
Many people view Mother’s Day as a holiday when moms should get to relax and be pampered. As a result, many people decide to dine out in honor of the occasion or children and male partners may do the cooking at home, so that moms can have a day off. Television programs and specials about motherhood and mothers often air on the holiday, and many families go the movies or plan other outings for the day.