Every May, families across the country get together to celebrate the mothers in their lives. While many people don't think beyond the Mother's Day gift baskets and the cards they give to that special someone, there is an extensive history behind this holiday that spawned many of these traditions.
The Founding of Mother's Day
Historians tend to dispute how far back Mother's Day goes in history, as well as who created it. The National Women's History Project states that many women contributed to the creation of the holiday, which is now celebrated on the second Sunday of every May.
TLC reports that the holiday could go back as far as Greek and Roman times when women were celebrated with lavish festivals that sometimes went on for days. Goddesses were also celebrated during this time as well. However, MothersDayCentral.com reports that mom-centric festivities may date back as far as the time of the ancient Egyptians - although we doubt back then they handed out Mother's Day chocolates.
Prominent Figures Who Influenced the Holiday
It wasn't until the 1600s that Mother's Day became widely celebrated throughout Europe. Back then, the day was called Mothering Sunday and involved an exchange of small treats and desserts as a token of appreciation.
In 1907, the event gained notoriety in the U.S. when Anna Jarvis held a ceremony in West Virginia to honor her late mother. She then campaigned to make the celebration a national holiday for all mothers. In 1910, West Virginia was the first state that recognized the day as a holiday. President Woodrow Wilson made Mother's Day official across the country in 1914.
Mother's Day Today
Since its development in the early 20th century, Mother's Day has grown into a celebration that is celebrated beyond the U.S. MothersDayCentral.com reports that the holiday is now a part of cultures in more than 70 countries. Before Jarvis' death, Mother's Day had become recognized in approximately 40 countries around the world.
Mother's Day has also become one of the biggest commercialized holidays in the U.S. Instead of solely showing tokens of appreciation, families now give everything from gift baskets to truffles to their hard-working mothers. Food continues to be a staple in the celebration of this holiday - Mother's Day is now the most popular day of the year to dine out, according to the National Restaurant Association.