History, origin and meaning of Mother's Day

History, origin and meaning of Mother's Day

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Mother's love is a universal feeling that does not understand cultures.

Kyung-sook Shin (South Korean writer).

This phrase, extracted from fraseswiki.com, is one of the clearest that we can choose to illustrate today's article, where we will see how mothers have been honored for centuries through the different cultures of the world.

History of Mother's Day

Before doing a historical review of the celebrations or tributes to mothers in different civilizations, we will mention the current concept we have, its origin and what is the story behind "Mother's Day".

Origin of "modern" Mother's Day

The origin of modern "Mother's Day" We find it at the beginning of the 20th century in the United States, at the initiative of Anna jarvis, who held a tribute to his mother at St. Andrew's Methodist Church in Grafton, Virginia, although his campaign began much earlier.

In 1905 Anna Jarvis's mother died, Ann reeves jarvis, a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers from both sides of the American Civil War, And I think that Mother's Day Work Clubs, in order to address public health issues.

She and another activist, Julia Ward Howe, had requested the creation of this day 40 years before it became an official holiday, and the latter had even made its Mother's Day Proclamation in 1870, where he called mothers of all nationalities to come together to promote “a friendly settlement of international issues and achieve peace”.

However, the officiality of the day, something that Anna Jarvis always pursued, was achieved in 1914 when the president Woodrow wilson signed a proclamation that designated as Mother's Day the second Sunday of the month of May, also making it a national holiday in honor of all mothers.

This date, the second Sunday of the month of May, is the one that almost all the countries of the world dedicate to “Mother's Day”.

Mother's Day in history

The origin of this celebration as we know it today is not fully related to the different festivities that we find throughout history, although we do see that they have remained constant in many regions depending on religion or culture.

Let's look at some examples from ancient times to the present day

Neolithic: cult of the Great Phrygian Earth Mother

The first antecedents of a celebration for the "mothers" are found in the Neolithic, in the Anatolia region and specifically in Pesinunte and Pergamum, where different celebrations were held in honor of the Great Mother Earth.

Ancient Greece

In the Ancient Greece we find a celebration that will be best known to us from Greek mythology. In this case, directed towards Rea, the mother of the major gods (Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades), which continued until their complete assimilation by the Roman Empire, next on the list.

Ancient Rome

Influenced by the Phrygian cult, which arrived in Rome in the 3rd century BC, and by Greek celebrations, the Romans celebrated the Hilarias on March 25, seventh day before the calends of April, in honor of Cibeles and Atis (god of vegetation and renewal that occurred in spring).

His cult was in the Temple of Magna Mater del Palatino, where they spent the eve of that day crying and lamenting, to spend, the day of the celebration, with joy and celebration.

Mother's Day in religions

In christianity

With the advent of Christianity, "Mother's Day" became the celebration for honor the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, her date being the day of the Immaculate Conception, December 8.

The "Sunday of the Mothers" in England

Linked to the previous one, in 17th century England the so-called "Mother's Sunday" was celebrated, also related to the Virgin, and where the children when leaving mass brought gifts to their mothers.

This day was also established so that many people who did not have days off could visit their relatives.

The Arab World

In Islam there is no concept "Mother's Day", but the Quran teaches that "children should give priority to loving their mother”. However, today this day is celebrated on March 21st in most Arab countries, which was introduced by journalist Musrafa Amin in Egypt, being celebrated for the first time in 1956.


The celebration or tribute to the most recognized mothers within Hinduism is found mainly in Nepal, on the day called "Matatirtha Aunsi”, A day when mothers are honored with special meals. This holiday takes place on the day of the new moon in the month of Baisakh (April / May).

Mother's Day in Buddhism

In the Buddhist and Taoist tradition, we find similar (always historically speaking) the Ullambana festival, which derives from the story of Maudgalayayana and her mother.

This concept is somewhat more convoluted than in the previous ones, since this festival is known as the “Ghost festival”, And to understand it we must base ourselves on the original story that gives rise to the celebration and that we find in mahayana script known as Yulanpen or Ullambana Sutra.

In it, we find a moment when Maudgalayayana reaches the "abhijñā", the "direct knowledge”, Using his new powers to be able to talk to his deceased parents. Thus discover his mother was reborn in ‘Preta’, also known as "Hungry Ghost".

This celebration takes place on 15th day of the seventh month (from the lunar calendar, which was September 2 this year), which is when Buddha told Maudgalyayana to make the offering to help her parents.

Events that lead to the celebration of "Mother's Day"

There are a number of countries that celebrate Mother's Day, making it coincide with internationally known dates such as the March 8 (Among them we find Balkan countries, Russia, North Macedonia, former countries of the USSR or Vietnam, among others).

There are also others that match them with own dates such as the case of Bolivia, which celebrates it on May 27, date that commemorates the “Battle of the Coronilla”(May 27, 1812), carried out during the Bolivian War of Independence in present-day Cochabamba, and where women who fought for independence were massacred by the Spanish army.

There are many different reasons why Mother's Day has different dates, such as Argentina, which celebrates it on the third Sunday in October and that has as its origin a date of the liturgical calendar that the Church used before the Second Vatican Council (the feast of the motherhood of the Virgin Mary was held on October 11), and, after the changes (it happened to January 1) popularly and over the years, it was determined on the current date.

After studying History at the University and after many previous tests, Red Historia was born, a project that emerged as a means of dissemination where to find the most important news of archeology, history and humanities, as well as articles of interest, curiosities and much more. In short, a meeting point for everyone where they can share information and continue learning.

Video: The history of Mothers Day in the.