The celebration of Mother’s Day is observed on different dates depending on where you are in the world. In the UK, the date is linked to Mothering Sunday, which is the fourth Sunday of Lent. In 2019, Mothering Sunday falls on 31 March.
The celebration of mothers is obviously not a new thing. Throughout history, the power and importance of mothers has been recognised and celebrated in a range of ways – the Greek cult to Cybele, and the Roman festival of Hilaria are among the oldest recorded official celebrations of motherhood.
Mother’s Day, as we know it today, is a relatively recent phenomenon – emerging in 1908 when Anna Jarvis organised a memorial for her mother, at her church in Virginia in the United States. Jarvis led a campaign to have Mother’s Day recognised as an official holiday in the United States. Jarvis’s mother has been a peace activist and public health campaigner. Jarvis wanted to continue her work and to have a day set aside to honour all mothers. By 1911, all US states had agreed to observe the holiday, and it was declared a national holiday in 1914. In the US, Mother’s Day is observed on the second Sunday in May.
By the early 1920s, Hallmark – the greeting card company – was selling Mother’s Day cards, and the commercial opportunities of the occasion were quickly realised. The adoption of Mother’s Day celebrations around the world has been in large part driven by companies promoting the event to help sell related products.
A queer perspective on Mother’s Day
Mothers come in all shapes, sizes, ages, and genders. You may have a number of people in your life who play a mothering role. That might be your birth mother, it might be an adopted mother, it might be your drag mother, it might a friend who you always turn to for advice and guidance.
Don’t limit your perception of motherhood based on hetero-normative traditions. Family has always been a fairly fluid concept – just as you get to choose who you recognise as family, you also get to choose who you honour and celebrate on Mother’s Day.
How to celebrate Mother’s Day
Bring some creativity to your celebration of Mother’s Day, but the starting point should be – What will make the person that you’re honouring feel special and appreciated?
That could be cooking breakfast for them, it could be taking them out to brunch, it might be booking them in for a facial or a massage, or it might just be taking them to a movie or spending some quality time with them.
Mothers play an intrinsic role in our lives, and we should respect, honour, and celebrate our mothers every day. Mother’s Day is a great excuse to put some extra effort into it.