Mother’s Day 2018: History, significance of the special day

Mother’s Day, which is celebrated on the second Sunday of May, is a special day chosen to honour motherhood and pay homage to the influence and contribution of mothers in building up a society. While all human bonds have their own significance, it is often said that that bond between a child and a mother is the strongest. The contribution of a mother in the lives of her children is immense and though a single day is never going to be enough to thank her for the love and commitment, it is equally important to acknowledge the same and make them feel special.

This year, the occasion falls on May 13.


Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1908 when a lady named Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia (where the International Mother’s Day Shrine is held) after her mother passed away in 1905. She earlier had started a campaign to recognise Mother’s Day as a holiday in the United States.

Though the request to make the day a holiday was denied initially, owing to the efforts of Jarvis, who was a peace activist and worked on public health issues, by 1911 all US states started observing the holiday. In 1941, Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating the second Sunday in the month of May as a national holiday to honour mothers.

However, there are many other nations that have associated the day with other traditions. To celebrate the memory of Mother Church on Christian Mothering Sunday, UK celebrates it on the fourth Sunday of March. Whereas in Greece the honouring of motherhood is associated with the Eastern Orthodox celebration of the presentation of Jesus Christ to the temple. The occasion is marked on February 2, according to the Julian calendar.

Interestingly, in most Arab countries, the day is celebrated on March 21, which is the Spring equinox. Some Catholic countries observe it on the Virgin Mary Day. In Bolivia, the date of Mother’s Day is honoured by the one when the women participated in the battle. However, in most ex-communist countries instead of Mother’s Day, International Women’s Day is commemorated.

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