With Mother’s Day approaching, many sons, daughters, husbands and loved ones will soon be flocking to stores seeking out very special gifts for their special Mothers.
Though Mother’s Day has become a very commercialized holiday, the earliest roots of Mother’s Day celebrations can be linked as far back as spring celebrations in Ancient Greece in honor of Rhea, the mother of the gods – people would make offerings of delicacies, fine drinks, and flowers at dawn to Rhea.
Romans also had a mother of all gods, Magna Mater, or Great Mother, to which a temple was erected in Rome in her honor. In March each year, there was a celebration in her honor called the Festival of Hilaria. Gifts were brought to the temple to please the mother-goddess.
During the 1600s, England celebrated “Mothering Sunday” on the fourth Sunday of Lent as a way to honor mothers. Many of England’s poor lived and worked as servants for the wealthy, far away from their homes and families. On Mothering Sunday, servants were given the day off to return home and spend the day with their mothers. A special cake, called the “mothering cake,” was often baked for the festivities.
According to several sources, Anna Jarvis created the modern U.S. Mother’s Day holiday in 1908, created as a day honoring mothers. However, it wasn’t established as an official U.S. national holiday until 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Mother’s Day the second Sunday of each May.
Holding true to the commercialization of the day honoring mothers, Mother’s Day remains one of the leading days for sales of flowers, greeting cards, and other gifts.
According to IBISWorld, a publisher of business research, Americans will spend close to $3 billion on flowers, $1.5 billion on pampering gifts (such as spa treatments) and another approximately $70 million on greeting cards in honor of Mother’s Day.
According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother’s Day is now the most popular day of the year to dine out at a restaurant in the United States.
Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 8.