Mother’s Day – History, Church & Gifts
Mothers have been celebrated throughout the centuries, with deep ties to Sundays, church & gifts. Those traditions continue today as mothers are recognized with presents and homemade gifts every Mother’s Day.
The Origin of Mother’s Day…and Gifts That Show You Care
It’s the thought that counts. For centuries, cultures around the world have celebrated mothers…and Mother’s Day in the U.S. recently passed its own century mark. Honoring the sacrifices mothers make for their children is a tradition that has stood the test of time.
Each family celebrates the occasion in its own way. Many head to church in their Sunday best, or restaurants for Mother’s Day brunch, and some lucky moms get treated to breakfast in bed. Flowers, cards, and presents of all kinds are often bestowed on moms who spend the day appreciating many kind words and expressions of love and thanks.
Origins of Mother’s Day
The connection between Mother’s Day and the church has its roots in the early Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday.” This observance originated in the United Kingdom during the 16th century and was celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent, which falls roughly three weeks before Easter.
Mothering Sunday was a time when people returned to their “mother church” or the church in which they were baptized. It was also a day when children, particularly those who worked as domestic servants, were given a day off to visit their mothers and bring them small gifts.
Over time, Mothering Sunday became associated with honoring mothers and motherhood more broadly. In the United States, the modern-day celebration of Mother’s Day can be traced back to the efforts of Anna Jarvis, who began campaigning for a national holiday honoring mothers in the early 20th century.
History of Mother’s Day
In 1908, families gathered in a quaint church located in Grafton, West Virginia, for the first official Mother’s Day celebration in the United States. Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother’s Day, selected the second Sunday in May to commemorate the life of her own mother, Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis, who herself worked to create official days honoring mothers’ work.
Prior to the Civil War in 1861, the elder Jarvis started “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to teach local women how to properly care for their children and improve sanitary conditions. After the war ended, she organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day” in 1868 to promote reconciliation between former Union and Confederate soldiers. This mothers movement inspired other activists to create similar events to honor mothers in the spirit of promoting world peace.
However, it was Ann’s daughter, Anna Jarvis, who first conceived the idea to connect florists with her inaugural event, where she handed out 500 white carnations for mothers to wear because it was her own mother’s favorite flower. Anna Jarvis also partnered with a prominent department store in Philadelphia, which held an in-store Mother’s Day event on the same day as the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church event in West Virginia. Thus, the commercialization of Mother’s Day was born.
Other states followed suit by adopting Mother’s Day as an annual holiday. It eventually became so popular that President Woodrow Wilson officially signed a proclamation in 1914 to establish the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. Today, Mother’s Day is celebrated in countries around the world, often with church services and other special events.
On May 15, 1962, the church was renamed the “International Mother’s Day Shrine,” paying tribute to mothers everywhere and is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
Mother’s Day Gift Ideas
An interesting fact about Mother’s Day is that more people go out to eat and make phone calls on this day than any other during the year in the U.S. Outside of Christmas Eve and Easter, Mother’s Day boasts the third highest day of church attendance than any other holiday. And, that’s no surprise,9 given that Mother’s Day basically began in a church!
While spending money on gifts is perfectly acceptable, a gift from the heart holds much value, as do homemade gifts. Offering to do all the laundry and dishes for the day is a nice treat for busy moms who need a break from daily chores. Homemade soaps or scented candles are easy DIY presents any mom would enjoy receiving.
A great gift is one that you know the recipient will value. If you know your mom never treats herself to a massage, pedicure, or even a movie in a theater, then get her a gift certificate for an activity she would never purchase for herself. Maybe she likes to decorate and would enjoy a cute pillow expressing phrases of love.
Likewise, do you know what her favorite food is? Offer to make her dinner, or purchase a box of chocolates, candy, or some other little sweet treat she can easily stash away for a special indulgence. There are plenty of Mother’s Day food gifts you can order online.
Moms will welcome any gesture that says “thanks” for raising thoughtful children.