Mother’s Day, a Holiday Celebrated Internationally
May is a great month of the year for many reasons. For me, it’s a great month because FINALLY work slows down. Ahh, a breathe of fresh air! But enough about me! May is an even bigger month for moms everywhere. My mom starts mentioning mother’s day ideas in February… “Hey Lauren, you know, the front bed could use some more planted flowers when the weather gets a little warmer.” Our mother’s day tradition is planting flowers. Between you and I, I hate dirt and mulch and sitting in the grass for hours, but on Mother’s Day I don’t hate it at all.
I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the history of Mother’s Day, and how other countries might celebrate their moms. Interestingly enough, I found a small bit of information on the history of Mother’s Day in the US.According to MothersDay.com and a TIME magazine article, on May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson declared the second Sunday in May Mother’s Day and a national holiday. US traditions consist of giving flowers and gifts, and usually treat mom to breakfast or lunch or dinner. Something new I learned: carnations are the official flower of the holiday. Red and pink flowers are given to living mothers, while white carnations are left at the graves of mothers who have passed.
Taking a look outside the US, one of the earliest finds was the history of Mother’s Day in the UK. The UK was one of the first countries to dedicate a day to mom, as early as the 1600s. At that time, children of poor families were sent to work for richer families to make and save money. Children were allowed to visit their homes for a short time once a year, which became known as Mothering Sunday. Children would come home to visit their “mother church” or the church of their home. After leaving church, children would walk home to visit their mothers, gathering flowers on their way to present to her. Mothering Day traditions stopped at the turn of the Industrial Revolution, with the change of working conditions. The traditions that remain to this day are the purchasing (or picking) and presenting of flowers to mothers. The most popular flowers in the UK on Mother’s Day are Roses.
Some places like Russia, China, and Mexico are deeply rooted in culture, respect, and equality. Mothers were acknowledged on March 8, International Women’s Day, in the former Soviet Union. This special day spread all over the world to become an internationally observed day for women and gender equality. After 1998, Russia declared Mother’s Day the last Sunday in November (although most gift-giving is still seen in March). Mother’s Day, although a bit new to China, reflects the country’s ancient principles: respect for the elderly and loyalty to parents and grandparents. China, as in the US, celebrates Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May with gifts and celebration. Mother’s Day in Mexico is one of the biggest holidays for the country. Celebrated on May 10th, families attend church for a special mass where a special morning meal is shared with all the mothers of the community. According to the Washington Post in 2012 in an interview with Manuel Guitierrez, the president of the national association of restaurateurs, “whatever the day of the week— [May 10] is the busiest day of the year for Mexican restaurants. Flowers are a must, but the day is also filled with music, food, celebrations, and often a morning serenade of the song “Las Mananitas” from mariachi singers.”
All these stories make me reflect on how important Mother’s Day is, and how much this day means to mothers and grandmothers everywhere. When I become a mother I’d like to head to Mexico for Mother’s Day. Their celebrations sound much more exciting than planting flowers! (just kidding, Mom) However you choose to celebrate your Mother’s Day, just remember the significance of the day, and how special it is to be a mom!