Something's fishy about Mother's Day! Prepare to laugh your way through the bewildering story of a loving holiday with purposeful beginnings turned moneymaker. In this funny blog post, we'll dive into the interesting facts and history of Mother's Day, exploring its meaning and how it evolved into the commercialized spectacle it is today.
Ancient Origins: Your Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandmother Deserves Credit Too
Mother's Day can be traced back thousands of years to ancient festivals. The Greeks and Romans feted their maternal deities with elaborate ceremonies, though they probably skipped the sappy Hallmark cards. Talk about old-school!
As time went on, the meaning behind the celebrations changed, but one thing remained the same - moms were celebrated, and they loved it. They probably exclaimed, "By Zeus, not another clay pot! Just what I always wanted!"
The Carnation Connection: Flowers or Mistaken Identity?
Diving into the more recent history of Mother's Day, we can't not mention carnations. They were the flower of choice for the founder of the modern holiday, Anna Jarvis, who handed them out at the first Mother's Day church service in 1908.
Jarvis created a day to honor mothers, both living and deceased after her own mother passed away. Hence, Mother's Day originated.
But why carnations?
Here's an interesting fact for you: people initially believed they were Jesus' mother's tears; however, it turned out that carnations have just been mistaken for "coronations" in early mentions - awkward floral mix-up!
With this very blooming goof up, carnations became the symbol of appreciation for mothers worldwide, turning florists into the real MVPs on Mother's Day.
According to Anna Jarvis, white carnations were chosen as the symbol of Mother's Day because they represent important virtues of motherhood. For instance, their white color symbolizes purity, their long-lasting quality represents faithfulness, their fragrance signifies love, their wide growth signifies charity, and their beautiful form represents beauty.
Anniversaries and Anna Jarvis's Ties - the Mother of Mother's Day (Literally!)
Would you believe that Anna Jarvis never married and actually never became a mother herself?
That's right; the woman responsible for turning Mother's Day into a national holiday in the United States was not even partaking in the celebrations herself.
But being childless didn't stop her from being very particular about the holiday - which she intended as a personal celebration, not just another reason to buy a gift or go out to brunch.
To that effect, she even trademarked the phrase "second Sunday in May." She chose that day because it would always be close to the date of her mother's death - May 9, 1905.
Oh, Anna, if only you could see the commercial Frankenstein your heartfelt holiday has become…
Speaking of commercial giants, Mother's Day has turned into a cash cow for businesses worldwide.
Beyond the US, countries from Australia to Zambia have embraced this sentimental celebration, turning it into a global marketing opportunity.
Nowadays, Mother's Day generates billions of dollars for industries as varied as greeting cards and restaurant reservations (remember when people used to cook for their moms?).
We've got to hand it to Anna Jarvis, who inadvertently started one of the most lucrative holidays worldwide - and made remembering our mothers every year a whole lot easier.
But All Was Not Bliss
Anna grew unhappy with the increasing commercialization of Mother's Day over time and made an attempt to cancel the holiday in 1943.
According to her, a printed card holds no value as it implies that you are too lazy to write a letter to the woman who has done more for you than anyone else in the world. Additionally, she stated that giving a box of candy to your mother and eating most of it yourself is not a genuine gesture.
Anna faced personal economic hardship as she made ongoing efforts to protect the original meaning of Mother's Day. She resorted to filing around 33 lawsuits against confectioners, florists, and charities that were using the name "Mother's Day".
Anna Jarvis never profited from any commercialization related to Mother's Day.
Anna was admitted to a sanatorium as she was nearly blind and deaf. The bills for her treatment were reportedly paid by people associated with the floral and greeting card industries. She remained there until her death on Nov. 24, 1948.
Weird and Funny Traditions from the Far Corners of the World
From the United States to Ethiopia, Mother's Day is about appreciating the woman who brought us into this world - but not all celebrations are created equal.
For instance, in Serbia: Celebrated on December 8th, Mother's Day or "Materice" in Serbia is a day for the whole family to come together and celebrate. Children often sneak into their parents' bedroom to tie up their mom, only releasing her after she rewards them with treats. Talk about a mom-napping!
And in France, Mother's Day, or "Fête des Mères", is either on the last Sunday of May (or the first Sunday in June, depending on the year), and is typically celebrated by presenting mothers with gifts such as flowers and chocolates, as well as treating them to a special meal. It is also customary for children to make handmade cards expressing their love and appreciation for their mothers. Today, French mothers are honored with a variety of traditions and customs, with families coming together to show their gratitude for all that their mothers do.
Here is a list of more unique Mother's Day celebrations from around the world:
Argentina: Mother's Day or "Dia de la Madre" is celebrated on the third Sunday of October. It is a day to honor mothers and grandmothers by expressing love and gratitude through gifts, cards, and family gatherings. Traditional gifts include flowers, chocolates, and perfumes, as well as handmade crafts and artwork from children. Some families also gather for a special meal or go out to a restaurant to celebrate the occasion. Overall, Mother's Day in Argentina is a time to show appreciation and love for the leading women in our lives.
Ethiopia: Celebrated on the last Sunday of May, Mother's Day in Ethiopia is known as "Antrosht." Families typically come together to feast on traditional dishes such as injera and doro wat. Children often bring their mothers homemade gifts to show their appreciation.
India: Celebrated on the second Sunday in May, Mother's Day in India is typically marked by the giving of gifts and treats such as chocolates, flowers, and sweets. Children often express their love and gratitude through handmade cards and crafts.
Indonesia: Celebrated on December 22nd, Mother's Day or "Hari Ibu" in Indonesia is a day for children to honor their mothers with gifts of flowers and chocolates. It is also a day to express gratitude and respect for all that mothers do for their families.
Japan: Celebrated on the second Sunday in May, Mother's Day or "Haha no Hi" in Japan is traditionally marked by the giving of white carnations, which symbolize pure and enduring love. Families also go out to eat and spend time together.
Mexico: Celebrated on May 10th, Mother's Day or "El Dia de las Madres" is a huge celebration in Mexico. Children often perform iconic songs and dances in honor of their mothers. Traditional gifts include flowers, chocolates, and serenades from musicians.
Thailand: Celebrated on August 12th, Mother's Day in Thailand is known as "Wan Mae." Children often give their mothers jasmine flowers as a symbol of love and purity. The day is also marked by public ceremonies and parades.
United Kingdom: Celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent, Mother's Day in the UK is known as "Mothering Sunday." Historically, it was a day for people to return to their "mother church" for a special service. Today, it is a day to honor mothers with gifts such as flowers and chocolates.
Though there are many similarities between countries, overall, Mother's Day is celebrated around the world in a variety of ways, with each country putting its own unique spin on the traditional holiday.
It is a time to show appreciation and gratitude for the women who have shaped our lives and made us who we are today.
Happy Mother's Day to all women who are mothers, have a motherly influence on others, or act as mothers, whether they are alive or no longer with us.