Mother’s Day: Why is the holiday celebrated on different days in US, Australia, Mexico and UK?
On Sunday, Americans, Australians and Italians will celebrate Mother’s Day – nearly two months after we marked the occasion in the UK.
Google is participating in the celebrations too, with a Google Doodle appearing for users in every country partaking in the festivities.
These include the US, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Kenya, Japan and a number of European countries such as Iceland, Italy, Finland and Germany.
The Doodle itself features a large smiling cartoon sunflower surrounded by three sunflower seeds.
But why is Mother’s Day celebrated on a different day in the UK? And when did it start?
Why do we celebrate Mother’s Day in March in the UK?
In the UK, Mother’s Day is formally known as Mothering Sunday. It takes place on the fourth Sunday of Lent and was traditionally a day on which Christians were encouraged to visit their “mother church”.
But over the years, the day has became better-associated with family reunions and children working away from home would acknowledge the day by returning home to pay a visit to their mothers.
Now it’s akin to the US celebration and its religious roots are have been usurped by promotional campaigns encouraging children to shower their mothers with flowers, cards and gifts.
How did the US begin celebrating Mother’s Day in May?
The American Mother’s Day does not have religious connotations and was formally established by President Wilson in 1914 after a campaign was launched by an American woman from West Virginia named Anna Jarvis, whose own mother died in May.
It has since been held every year on the second Sunday of May in the US and several other countries, including Australia.
Following the campaign, President Wilson formalised the date, declaring it a “public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country”.
However, Jarvis is thought to have disapproved of the subsequent commercialisation of the holiday, which she felt overtook its sentimental origins. She even said she regretted starting it and at one point, sought to abolish it.
When is Mother’s Day in Mexico?
Mexicans celebrate Mother’s Day slightly differently from the rest of the world, marking it via the “Día de las Madres” every year on 10 May.
The chosen date is thought to have come about in 1922 after a newspaper editor Rafael Alducin, wrote an article for Mexico City’s newspaper, El Excelsior, touting the benefits of Mother’s Day celebrations and encouraging others do take part in Mexico.
The US tradition had already begun to spread to the central American country, but the article was supported by a media campaign and the Catholic Church prompted Mexicans to select a date of their own to celebrate the day, which ended up being 10 May.
Like in other countries, people celebrate it by giving their mothers large bouquets of flowers and hosting family gatherings.
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