Mothers Day

8 May 2017

Why do we celebrate Mother’s Day in May?

The oldest celebration related to the mothers goes back to Greece ancient times when in the spring season was organized a celebration in the name of Rhea, the God’s mother.

Then, in Ancient Rome, about 250 years before Christ the celebrations were made in honor of Cybelle, the mother of the Roman gods.

Already in the seventeenth century, in England, there is a new celebration, in honor of the mothers with the so-called ‘Mothering Day’. It was celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent. The aim of this day was to give English workers an opportunity to spend their day off with their mothers.

But Mother’s Day as we know it today was born in the early twentieth century in the United States of America.

mothers-day-81The story goes back to 1858 when  Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis, founded the ‘Mother’s Days Works Club’ with the aim of discussing strategies to decrease the mortality of children in families of workers . Ann Maria was known for her initiatives dedicated to the most disadvantaged, not only the workers, but also fot those injured in the Civil War.

Along the same path, the writer Julia Ward Howe has developed initiatives to value mother and motherhood, this time with the publication of the manifesto ‘Mother’s Day Proclamation’.

When Ann Marie died on May 9, 1905, her daughter Anna Jervis resented the loss and with the help of friends, decided to celebrate the love for her mother and at the same time, teach the children to value their respective progenitors.

Thus, it launched a campaign to have mother’s day recognized nationally, which happened nine years after Ann Marie’s death.

In May 1914, the United States Congress passed the Decree – Joint Resolution Designating the Second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day – which established that day in May as Mother’s Day.

However, despite the effort to make Mother’s Day recognized as a nationwide celebration, Anna Jervis later fought to have the day abolished from the calendar because of the commercial character it has acquired and continues up to today.

In some countries Mother’s Day is celebrated on other dates such as in Argentina which is celebrated in October and in our brother country Portugal that is celebrated on the first Sunday of May.

But it was not always like that. Since  Portugal is a country of high Catholic tradition, Mother’s Day was not initially celebrated in May, but on December 8, the day of Our Lady of the Conception, the patroness of the country.images

However, the apparitions of Our Lady to the three shepherds – Lúcia, Jacinta and Francisco – in the Cova da Iria on May 13, 1917 gave a greater symbolism to the month of May, which became known as the month dedicated to Saint Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ.

Thus, the Portuguese authorities decided that Mother’s Day would no longer be linked to Our Lady of Conception and would be related to Our Lady of Fatima.

As the apparitions occurred on May 13, it was established that Mother’s Day in Portugal would be celebrated on the first Sunday of the month in order to avoid  conflict with the celebrations at Fatima.

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