When is Mothers Day?

The history of Mother’s Day began on May 12, 1907. It was Anna Jarvis of West Virginia who decided to set aside this day for mothers worldwide. However, the tradition of honoring mothers is a long one.

The Various Dates

Although Jarvis had declared that May 12 be the day, it was only in 1914 that the US government recognized it as a national holiday. Today the event is celebrated in the US on that date. However, some countries don’t commemorate it on May 12. Instead they usually set aside the second Sunday of the month. In other parts of the world, other dates are used.

Although the origin and history of Mother’s Day is clear, the dates are different. In Israel it is on Shevat 30. This means it can occur anytime between January 30 and March 1. Most Eastern European countries like Albania, Romania and Bosnia celebrate it on March 8.

In Portugal it is on the first Sunday of May. In South Korea they celebrate in on March 8 as Parents’ Day. Australia, Japan and several other countries however, do follow the tradition of celebrating it on May 12 or the second Sunday.


A look at ancient history will reveal that there had been celebrations like it in the past. One theory is that the worship of the Greek goddess Cybele was an early form of motherly love and devotion. The history of Mother’s Day can also be traced back to ancient Rome. Their Matronalia was set aside for Juno and characterized by giving of presents to mothers.

Mothering Sunday

This date is also known as Laetare Sunday and takes place on the 4th Sunday at Lent. This is actually a time for honoring the Virgin Mary but it has become closely associated with giving gifts to mothers.

Commemoration in Various Countries

Countries that recognize this holiday celebrate it in different ways. In China it is not yet an official holiday but is gaining recognition. Part of the reason is that Chinese culture holds parents in very high esteem and must be honored by their children. Most commemorate it by handing flowers to their mothers. But lately it has also been used as a time to share and help the poor and needy.

The history of Mother’s Day and its meaning is well known to the people of Nepal too. It is celebrated in April. It is marked by paying tribute not just to mothers but also women who have passed on. In Britain and Ireland, it is still being celebrated three weeks prior to Easter.

In Mexico the event became popular during the 1920s. It was supposed to be a tribute to mothers only, but in time it became intertwined with Christianity. Today the event is celebrated on May 10. It is both in honor of mothers and devotion to the Blessed Mother.

Although there are variations, the nations that recognize this holiday are still commemorating the same event. While the history of Mother’s Day has gone through changes, its meaning has remained true.

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