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The point of origin

entertainment Updated: May 08, 2009 21:53 IST
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Though the origin of Mother's Day dates back to the era of Romans and Greeks, the credit of celebrating it as a festival goes to pioneering women of their times, Julia Ward Howe and Anna Jarvis.. Julia Ward Howe was a poet, writer, journalist, women's suffrage activist, and a slavery abolitionist.

The festival of Mother's Day is celebrated across 46 countries on different dates.

The earliest history of Mothers Day dates back to the ancient annual spring festival the Greeks dedicated to maternal goddesses. The Greeks used the occasion to honor Rhea, wife of Cronus and the mother of many deities of Greek mythology.

Ancient Romans, too, celebrated a spring festival, called Hilaria dedicated to Cybele, a mother goddess. It may be noted that ceremonies in honour of Cybele began some 250 years before Christ was born. The celebration made on the Ides of March by making offerings in the temple of Cybele lasted for three days and included parades, games and masquerades. The celebrations were notorious enough that followers of Cybele were banished from Rome.

Early Christians celebrated a Mother's Day of sorts during the festival on the fourth Sunday of Lent in honor of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ. In England the holiday was expanded to include all mothers. It was then called Mothering Sunday.