Mother’s Day is celebrated all around the world and today it’s meaning for the modern family takes many different forms, as increasingly the role of mothering is not always designated to the female of the family. Here’s a look at the tradition going back through the centuries.
Some interesting historical facts about Mother’s Day
- In Greek mythology spring festivals were held in honour of the maternal goddess called, Rhea. She was the wife of Cronus and was believed to be the mother of many deities.
- 2) In 250 B.C. ancient Romans celebrated a spring festival called, Hilaria. This was dedicated to a mother goddess named, Cybele, on the Ides of March. Her followers would make offerings at the temple, hold parades, play games and also have masquerades. It lasted three days.
- In the 1600’s England, Mothering Sunday took place on the 4th Sunday of Lent. It began with a prayer service in honour of the Virgin Mary. It was also a day off for domestic servants, usually daughters, so they could see their mothers thus providing a good opportunity for families to get together. Children would present their mothers with flowers.
- The modern holiday of Mother's Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial service for her late mother. She campaigned to make Mother's Day a recognised holiday in the United States. Her mother, Ann Jarvis, had been a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War and created Mother's Day Work Clubs to address public health issues. Anna Jarvis wanted to honour her mother by continuing the work she started and to set aside a day to honour all mothers because she believed a mother is "the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world. On 8 May 1914 President Woodrow Wilson signed a Joint Resolution designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. Ironically, Anna later came to hate any form of commercialisation of Mother’s Day boycotting and protesting against it.
Mother’s Day fun facts
- Mother’s Day sees around one quarter of all flowers purchased throughout the year falling on this holiday.
- In the vast majority of the world’s languages, the word for “mother” begins with the letter M. The word for “mom” is “mama” in Mandarin Chinese, “mamma” in Iceland, “em” in Hebrew, and “me” in Vietnamese. Because one of the first utterances babies make is a “ma” sound, most languages around the world have that sound as the basis for their word for “mother.”
- In the United States alone, around 122 million phone calls are made to mums on Mother’s Day.
- In Thailand, Mother’s Day is celebrated in August on the birthday of the current queen, A type of Mother’s Day is celebrated in Ethiopia in the fall when families gather for several days to sing songs, feast, and celebrate in honour of motherhood.
- Wearing a coloured carnation on Mother’s Day indicates that a person’s mother is living. A white carnation means that a person’s mother is dead.
Strange but true
- The oldest woman to deliver a baby is Satyabhama Mahapatra, who, at 65, gave birth to a boy on 9 April 2003 in India. The boy was her first child after 50 years of marriage. However, the eggs were donated by her 26 year-old niece.
- On January 26, 2009, the Suleman Octupletswere born in the United States. One week after birth, the Suleman octuplets became the longest-living octuplets in known history. The children's names are Noah, Maliyah, Isaiah, Nariyah, Makai, Josiah, Jeremiah and Jonah. They were conceived through They have six older siblings, including a set of fraternal twins. They are the first octuplets known to survive their infancy.
- The shortest span between two births is by mom, Jayne Bleackley who gave birth to her son on September 3, 1999. Then 208 days later gave birth to her daughter (on March 30, 2000).
- Elizabeth Ann Buttle gave birth to her first child on 19 May 1956. Then when she was 60 years-old, she gave birth to a son on 20 November 1997, making the babies 41 years 185 days apart.
- The mom with the most kids is Mrs. Feodor Vassilyev of Russia. She gave birth to 69 children between 1725 and 1765!
- The mother who gave birth to the heaviest baby was Carmelina Fedele of Italy in 1955. Weighing in at a hefty 22 pounds 8 oz (10.2kg).
- While new moms turn to modern physicians for help giving birth, ancient women would turn to goddesses. Ancient deities associated with childbirth include Eileithyia, the Greek goddess of labour pains; Frigg, the Norse goddess who watched over married and labouring women; and the ancient Egyptian goddess Hathor, a cow-headed goddess associated with childbirth and motherhood.
- During pregnancy, moms and children exchange cells through their connection with the placenta. These cells can persist in the mother’s body for years.
- “Breast Warmers” are popular among mothers in Sweden. Described as a cross between a baby elephant’s ear and a 1980s shoulder pad, these pads are stuffed into a bra to keep a new mother’s breasts warm. Swedes believe this will help increase milk flow and prevent blocked ducts.
- According to several studies, mothers who give birth later in life have a better chance of living longer.