Mother's Day 2024: Date, history, significance and celebration - Hindustan Times
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Mother's Day 2024: Date, history, significance and celebration

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
May 12, 2024 08:59 AM IST

Mother's Day 2024: Here's all you need to know about the date, history, significance and celebration of Mother's Day

A mother's love is like no other as it is an endless well of strength, courage, compassion and the fuel that enables us to do the impossible hence, the bond with one's mother transcends words, time and distance and to celebrate the comfort, safety and unwavering support that we find in our mothers' arms, Mother's Day is celebrated annually in May. A mother is not just a person; she is the heartbeat of the family, the anchor of our souls whose arms are made of tenderness and her heart is stitched with love so to celebrate this challenging unpaid job of motherhood, Mother's Day is marked to show love, appreciation and recognition for her irreplaceable role in a family.

Mother's Day 2024: Date, history, significance and celebration (Image by johnniedavid12412 on Freepik)
Mother's Day 2024: Date, history, significance and celebration (Image by johnniedavid12412 on Freepik)

Date:

In many countries, including India, Mother's Day falls on the second Sunday of May every year and this year the celebration will fall on May 12, 2024.

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History:

The history of Mother's Day dates back to ancient times but the modern observance of the holiday began in the early 20th century. As per ancient roots, the ancient Greeks and Romans celebrated festivals honouring mother goddesses such as Rhea and Cybele and these celebrations were held in the springtime and were dedicated to fertility and motherhood.

Early Christian celebrations of the 16th century had early Christians in England celebrating a day called "Mothering Sunday." It was a time when people returned to their mother church, which was the main church or cathedral in their area and on this day, families would come together and children would present flowers or small gifts to their mothers.

In the United States, the origins of Mother's Day can be traced back to the efforts of Julia Ward Howe, an abolitionist and suffragette. In 1870, she wrote the "Mother's Day Proclamation," calling for women to unite for peace and disarmament.

The modern Mother's Day as we know it, was championed by Anna Jarvis, an American social activist. After her own mother's death in 1905, Jarvis campaigned to establish a national holiday to honour mothers as she wanted to create a day for individuals to express their love and gratitude to their mothers.

In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day in the United States and this official recognition led to the widespread celebration of Mother's Day in the country. Since then, Mother's Day has been adopted by various countries around the world but while Anna Jarvis is often credited as the founder of Mother's Day, she later became a vocal critic of the holiday due to its commercialisation.

Anna Jarvis initially envisioned Mother's Day as a day of personal and heartfelt appreciation, where people would honour their own mothers with sincere sentiments and acts of kindness. As Mother's Day gained popularity, Jarvis became increasingly disillusioned with its commercialisation and felt that the true meaning of the holiday was being overshadowed by the sale of greeting cards, flowers and other gifts.

Jarvis actively protested against the commercialisation of Mother's Day and organised boycotts, threatened lawsuits and spoke out against the exploitation of the holiday for profit. She even campaigned for the abolition of Mother's Day altogether.

Jarvis reportedly spent much of her later life and personal funds fighting against the commercialisation of Mother's Day and became bitter and disheartened by what she saw as the corruption of her original intentions for the holiday. Despite her efforts, Jarvis was unable to halt the commercialisation of Mother's Day however, her campaign drew attention to the issue and sparked ongoing discussions about the balance between genuine appreciation and commercial motives in celebrating the holiday.

While Anna Jarvis's campaign against the commercialisation of Mother's Day did not achieve its intended outcomes, it highlighted the importance of preserving the genuine sentiment behind the holiday and the potential pitfalls of excessive commercialisation.

Significance:

Mother's Day serves as a reminder of the immeasurable value of mothers and motherhood as it is a day to express love, appreciation and recognition for the selfless devotion and unconditional love that mothers provide throughout their lives hence, holds significant importance for various reasons. Mother's Day is a special occasion dedicated to honouring and appreciating mothers and mother figures as it provides an opportunity to express gratitude for their love, sacrifices and unwavering support, celebrate the beautiful and essential role of motherhood, recognise the immense impact mothers have on their children's lives, their families and society as a whole and serves as a reminder to spend quality time with family and strengthen the bond between mothers and their children.

It provides an occasion for family members to come together, express love and appreciation and create cherished memories, acknowledges and appreciates the influence and guidance that mothers provide, recognises mother's role in shaping their children's values, character and overall development. Mother's Day offers a dedicated moment to express gratitude and thankfulness for the selfless acts of love, care and nurturing that mothers provide every day.

It is an opportunity to show appreciation for the countless ways in which mothers enrich our lives. Mother's Day allows for reflection on the deep bond between a mother and her children, providing an occasion to cherish and honour the unique and irreplaceable connection that exists within the mother-child relationship.

Celebrating mothers on Mother's Day contributes to their emotional well-being. It validates their role and efforts, promoting a sense of fulfillment, pride and happiness in their important role as mothers.

Celebrations:

Mother's Day celebrations vary across different cultures and countries but they often involve several common elements like it is customary to give gifts to mothers and mother figures on Mother's Day where these gifts can include flowers, cards, chocolates, jewellery or personalised items. The gifts serve as tokens of love, appreciation and gratitude or people may celebrate Mother's Day by gathering with their families and this can involve having a special meal together, going out for a family outing or organising a small gathering or party to honour mothers.

Spending quality time with mothers is an essential aspect of Mother's Day. Activities may include going for a walk, having a picnic, watching a movie together or engaging in other shared interests and hobbies or people can express their love and appreciation for their mothers through special gestures like writing heartfelt letters or cards, preparing breakfast in bed or doing chores or tasks to give mothers a break from their regular responsibilities.

Mother's Day is not only about biological mothers but also about honouring all mother figures and this includes stepmothers, grandmothers, adoptive mothers and other women who have played a significant maternal role in one's life. In some communities, Mother's Day is celebrated with public events or gatherings and these can include concerts, parades or special programs dedicated to honouring mothers and celebrating motherhood.

Mother's Day can also be a time for reflection and remembrance, particularly for those whose mothers are no longer alive so people may visit cemeteries or create tributes to honour and remember their mothers' memory. Ultimately, Mother's Day celebrations revolve around expressing love, appreciation and gratitude towards mothers and mother figures and the specific activities and traditions may vary but the underlying sentiment remains the same – to honour and celebrate the immeasurable impact of mothers in our lives.

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