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Mother’s Day is a celebration honoring mothers and motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. It is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, most commonly in March or May. It complements Father’s Day, a similar celebration honoring fathers.
Mother’s Day has become a day that focuses on generally recognizing mothers’ and mother figures’ roles. Mother’s Day has also become an increasingly important event for businesses in recent years. This is particularly true of restaurants and businesses manufacturing and selling cards and gift items.
Many people remember their mothers and mother figures on Mother’s Day. Mother figures may include stepmothers, relatives, mothers-in-law, a guardian (eg. a foster parent), or a family friend. There are many different ways to celebrate Mother’s Day. Early Mother’s Day celebrations can be dated back to the spring celebrations to honor Rhea, the Mother of the Gods, in ancient Greek civilization, according to some sources. Later, Mothering Sunday in the United Kingdom was traditionally a day for people to visit the church where they were baptized, although it now also celebrates motherhood in modern times.
The modern-day origins of Mother’s Day can be attributed to two women – Julia Ward Howe and Anna Jarvis, who were important in establishing the tradition in the United States. Around 1870, Julia Ward Howe called for Mother’s Day to be celebrated each year. It continued to be held in Boston for about 10 years under her sponsorship, but died out after that. Other sources say that Juliet Calhoun Blakely initiated Mother’s Day in Albion, Michigan, in the late 1800s. Her sons paid tribute to her each year and urged others to honor their mothers.
In 1907, Anna Jarvis held a private Mother’s Day celebration in memory of her mother, Ann Jarvis, in Grafton, West Virginia. In 1908, she played a key role in arranging a church service that attracted 407 children and their mothers. A Mother’s Day International Association was founded in 1912 to promote the holiday in other countries. Mother’s Day has grown increasingly popular since then.
Many people believe that Mother’s Day is now largely commercialized, with card companies, flower shops, jewelry stores, gift shops, restaurants, hotels, and department stores advertising promotions and special deals for this event. Anna Jarvis, in her lifetime, unsuccessfully filed a lawsuit to stop the over-commercialization of Mother’s Day.