Though it wasn't an official holiday until 1914, we've been celebrating mothers for centuries. These days, we celebrate Mom with cards, gifts, special meals, and crafts that are made with love. Read on to find out more about the history of Mother's Day and where some of your favorite Mother's Day traditions came from.
Although it wasn't like the Mother's Day celebrations we have today, the ancient Greeks used to hold spring festivals to honor the maternal goddess Rhea. She was believed to be the mother of many deities.
After much persuasion from an activist named Anna Jarvis, Woodrow Wilson officially declared that the second Sunday of every May would be Mother's Day. In his first Mother’s Day proclamation, Wilson stated that the holiday offered a chance to “[publicly express] our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.”
Whether it's handmade with love, or purchased with her in mind, most of us give Mom a card to mark the day. The second most popular Mother's Day purchase is flowers, followed by "a special experience."
According to a 2017 RetailMeNot survey, what Mom really wants is a nice meal out with the family. "She doesn’t want to cook, she doesn’t want to be at home, so get her out of the house, take her to her favorite restaurant, enjoy a really nice meal with mom. Let her know you appreciate her that way,” said RetailMeNot expert Sara Skirboll.
At least, that's according to a recent U.S. Census Bureau estimate. Other interesting findings from the Pew Research Institute found that today’s moms work more hours outside the home and spend far less time on housework than they did 50 years ago.
Anna Jarvis, who encourarged President Woodrow Wilson to declare Mother's Day an official holiday, started the practice of wearing a carnation to honor mothers. Traditionally, red or pink carnations are a nice gift to celebrate your mom, while white carnations can be used to honor a mother who has passed away.
As you might have guessed, Mother's Day is definitely a busy day for flower shops. Twenty-five percent of their total sales are made around this holiday, according to the Society of American Florists. So get your orders in early!
According to the CDC, American women are waiting longer to become mothers. In 2000, the average age for a first-time mother was 24.9 years old. In 2014 (the most recent year for which this data is available), the average age was 26.3 years old.
The National Retail Federation estimated last year that Americans would spend $23.6 billion on Mother's Day gifts and celebrations, with shoppers spending an average of $186.39 on Mom. But if you're a little below that, don't worry — Mom appreciates anything made with love.
You know that Mom definitely deserves a medal. And in France during the 1920s, she might have actually gotten one. The country began awarding medals to mothers of large families in gratitude for helping rebuild the population after so many lives were lost in World War I. Though that tradition was discontinued, French mothers now typically receive a flower-shaped cake on Mother's Day.
"Mothering Sunday" falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent. In the 1700s, families who had moved away would return home to the original church they attended. Today, many churches hand out daffodils for children to give to mom. And traditionally, British girls will also bake a fruitcake topped with marzipan for their mothers.