Mother's Day is celebrated across the world, in more than 50 countries, though not all countries celebrate it on the same day.
A little bit of history
Arguably, the tradition of a day to celebrate mothers can be traced back to the times of the ancient Greeks, who held festivities to honour Rhea, the mother of the gods.
Early Christians celebrated the fourth Sunday of Lent (40 days before Easter) as a Mother's festival to honour Mary, the mother of Christ.
In the UK, the tradition of Mother's Day is now very similar to its American counterpart, but its origins are different, as the day commemorates returning to your mother church on the fourth Sunday in Lent.
The English colonists who settled in America discontinued the tradition of Mothering Sunday, as presumably, it would have been a bit of a trip to return to their mother church for the day.
The origin of Mother’s Day as we know it took place in the early 1900s. A woman named Anna Jarvis started a campaign for an official holiday honoring mothers in 1905, the year her own mother died. The first larger-scale celebration of the holiday was in 1908, when Jarvis held a public memorial for her mother in her hometown of Grafton, West Virginia.
Over the next few years, Jarvis pushed to have the holiday officially recognized, and it was celebrated increasingly in more and more states around the U.S. Finally, in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation making Mother’s Day an official holiday, to take place the second Sunday of May.
Anna Jarvis put Mother’s Day on the calendar as a day dedicated to expressing love and gratitude to mothers, acknowledging the sacrifices women make for their children. That’s why she was determined to keep “Mother’s” a singular possessive, as marked by the apostrophe before “s.” Each family should celebrate its own mother, so that individual women across the country could feel the love, even in the midst of a broad celebration of motherhood.
Around the world, Mother’s Day is celebrated in a variety of ways and on different dates throughout the year, though many countries observe the holiday on the same day as the United States—proof of the powerful impact made by Anna Jarvis.