In Mexico, Mothers Day is always celebrated on May 10 as opposed to the Mothers Day in the US that falls on the second Sunday in the month of May. Mothers Day in Mexico is celebrated in a colorful fashion. Children honor their mothers and thank them for their efforts in bringing them up. According to a custom in Mexico, sons and daughters come to the Family Home on the eve of Mothers Day on May 9.
Recognition of “Día de las Madres” or Mothers Day began in 1922 when a journalist, Rafael Alducín wrote an article advocating the celebration of Mother’s Day in all of Mexico. Though the practice had already spread to parts of Mexico, Alducín’s article led to widespread observance of the holiday, and May 10 became the universal day of celebration in Mexico.
On Mother’s Day people in Mexico send gifts of flowers and cards to their mothers. There is also a tradition of giving gifts on Mothers Day. While the older children generally buy gifts from the store, the younger ones may prepare handmade gifts to honor their mothers. In several schools Mothers Day functions are organized where little ones present skits and songs to their Moms to express their gratitude and love.
Only recently dubbed “Mother’s Day,” the highly traditional practice of honoring of Motherhood is rooted in antiquity. Pagan societies tended to celebrate Goddesses and symbols rather than actual Mothers. In fact, the personal, human touch to Mother’s Day is a relatively new phenomenon. The maternal objects of adoration ranged from mythological female deities to the Christian Church itself. Only in the past few centuries did celebrations of Motherhood develop a decidedly human focus.
One of the earliest historical records of a society celebrating a Mother deity can be found among the ancient Egyptians, who held an annual festival to honor the goddess Isis. In Rome and Asia Minor, Cybele was the major Mother deity most similar to Rhea, the Greek mother of the Gods. Other societies worshiped similar deities including Gaia the Earth Goddess and Meter Oreie the Mountain Mother. In many aspects, this Mother goddess was represented and celebrated similarly across cultures.
A later incarnation of a holiday to honor Motherhood came from Europe. It fell on the fourth Sunday Lent (the 40 days of fasting preceding Easter Sunday). Early Christians initially used the day to honor the church in which they were baptized, which they knew as their “Mother Church.” This place of worship would be decorated with jewels, flowers, and other offerings. In the 1600’s a clerical decree in England broadened the celebration to include real Mothers, earning the name Mothering Day.
The first North American Mother’s Day was conceptualized in the U.S. with Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870. She had written The Battle Hymn of the Republic 12 years earlier. She had become distraught with the violence and killing that she had witnessed and was becoming an outspoken peace activist. At one point Howe even proposed converting July 4th into Mother’s Day.
Eventually, however, June 2nd was designated for the celebration. In 1873 women’s groups in 18 North American cities observed this new Mother’s holiday. Howe initially funded many of these celebrations, but most of them died out once she stopped footing the bill. The city of Boston, however, would continue celebrating Howe’s holiday for 10 more years.
Despite the decided failure of her holiday, Howe had nevertheless planted the seed that would blossom into what we know as Mother’s Day today. A West Virginia women’s group led by Anna Reeves Jarvis began to celebrate an adaptation of Howe’s holiday. In order to re-unite families and neighbors that had been divided between the Union and Confederate sides of the Civil War, the group held a Mother’s Friendship Day.
The honoring of mothers on a special day is deeply rooted in tradition in most parts of the world. Don’t forget Mother’s Day!!!
by Slade Ogletree
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