The second Sunday in May marks a very important occasion on calendars here in New Zealand and in fact all around the world. -Mother’s Day and I would love to share with you some interesting history and traditions surrounding this day.
The first Mother’s Day
Celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals in honour of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele, but the modern holiday of Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. Her campaign to make Mother’s Day a recognized holiday in the United States began in 1905, the year her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died. 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”.
Mother’s Day traditions around the world
Although the idea of Mother’s Day started as an American tradition and continues to be the main country of observance, there are many celebrations outside of the US.
Belgium’s tradition has men bringing mothers breakfast in bed. In China, Mother’s Day has become popular, with carnations as the Chinese association as well. But the main aim of China’s 1997 established Mother’s Day was to improve the quality of life for poor mothers, especially those in rural China.
France’s Mother’s Day also has a philanthropic theme. The low birth rates of the later nineteenth century inspired a need for a day to honour mothers who birthed many children. In 1920, an official holiday for mothers of large families was established, expanding to commend all mothers in 1950.
Germany adopted Muttertag in 1920 to try and encourage childbearing. During this period, Germany’s birth-rate was the lowest in all of Europe. This first version of the holiday was seen as a celebration of motherhood rather than individual mothers, where societies would give support to mothers of large families. The holiday has since evolved to the more common traditions of Mother’s Day.
Celebrations in the Netherlands can be attributed to the efforts of florists in the 1920s. In order to encourage business, groups protecting Dutch florists promoted the holiday with campaigns. It received some criticism for being a little commercialistic but some still celebrate the holiday today.
Nepal’s Mata Tirtha Aunsi festival is celebrated by giving gifts and worshipping mothers. Observers also honour deceased mothers. One tradition is to make a pilgrimage to the Mata Tirtha ponds.
Here in New Zealand many people remember their mothers and mother figures on Mother’s Day. Mother figures may include stepmothers, relatives, mothers-in-law, a guardian (e.g. a foster parent), or a family friend.
Mother’s Day is a chance for you to do something special, and show mothers everywhere just how much they are appreciated by maybe giving cards, flowers, or cakes, having family gatherings or visits. Phone calls, particularly from children who live away from their mothers and/or mother figures or Mother’s Day poems and messages.
Ariki New Zealand Jewellery Gifts
And of course – the gifting of jewellery on Mother’s Day is still a time honoured tradition.
Here at Ariki New Zealand it is a very busy time for us as people honour the most important “Mothers” in their lives and we have several beautiful pieces of unique New Zealand Jewellery to choose from.
My own mother is certainly someone I care deeply about and her life is most definitely an inspiration not only to me but to all that know her. My 7 siblings and I were extremely blessed and lucky to have her as our “Mum” and in turn she now has been blessed with 19 Grandchildren and 15 Great Grandchildren. I have chosen a particularly precious piece of jewellery to honour my most precious “Mum”. The GP600 Fern Brooch: it is believed that if you are giving someone a fern as a gift, you are giving them the hope that they will have confidence, shelters, wealth, and happiness.
This is a great plant to give someone that you really care about. Just as this beautifully elegant brooch would most certainly be a great gift to symbolise this meaning.
So no matter which corner of the globe you live in I hope that you can take a moment on this special day to honour “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world”.