The History of Mother’s Day

by | May 7, 2012 | National Holiday

Mothers DayMother’s Day is coming up on the second Sunday in May and this is the day when we thank our mothers for all of the hard work they have done for us.

On this special day Mother’s are lavished with presents, cards and attention from their families and loved ones and usually treated to flowers, chocolates, spa treatments, gifts and more.

Have you ever wondered where this tradition of honoring our mothers came from? You might be surprised to know that Mother’s Day has older origins than you might think.

Early Ancient Goddess Celebrations

The very early origins of Mother’s Day date all the way back to ancient Egypt where an annual festival was held to honor the Goddess Isis who is known as the Mother of the Pharaohs.

She gave birth to Horus who grew up to defeat Seth and become the first ruler of unified Egypt.

The festival of Isis was also celebrated by the Romans who used it to mark the beginning of winter. The Roman festivals were filled with music, singing and female dancers.

The Roman roots of Mother’s Day also tem back to the Goddess Cybele, also known as the Great Mother.

European Religious Worship

These mother-goddess festivals were later incarnated as a holiday marked to honor motherhood in Early Christian Europe.

The holiday was also used to honor the church where one was baptized, which was your “Mother Church”. The churches would be decorated with flowers, jewelery and other special offerings.

The Beginnings of Mother’s Day

Later in the 1600s, “Mothering Day” was designated in England. It was a day when the poor servants and trade workers were allowed to travel back home to their towns to visit their families.

The matriarch of the family was the guest of honor at a family feast and all of her children came back to visit her.

Mother’s Day in America

The “Mothering Day” tradition was somewhat forgotten when the Puritans came to colonize North America.

Perhaps they could not celebrate many holidays under the harsh conditions that they had to survive in, or perhaps their religious conservatism kept them from lavish celebrations.

Mother’s Day didn’t come to America until 1870 when Julia Ward Howe wrote a poem encouraging mothers to protest the deaths of their sons in the Civil War.

Several decades later, the US Government adopted Mother’s Day as a national holiday and it is still celebrated to this day.

Now you know the origins and history of Mother’s Day and why we designate this day to celebrate our mothers and all the love that they give us.