I love my Mammy
The modern Mother's Day holiday was created by Anna Jarvis as a day for each family to honor its mother, and it's now celebrated on various days in many places around the world. It complements Father's Day, the celebration honoring fathers.
This holiday is relatively modern, being created at the start of the 20th century, and should not be confused with the early pagan and Christian traditions honoring mothers, or with the 16th century celebration of Mothering Sunday, which is also known as Mother's Day in the UK.
In most countries the Mother's Day celebration is a recent holiday derived from the original US celebration. Exceptions are, for example, the Mothering Sunday holiday in the UK.
Different countries celebrate Mother's Day on various days of the year because the day has a number of different origins.
One school of thought claims this day emerged from a custom of mother worship in ancient Greece, which kept a festival to Cybele, a great mother of Greek gods. This festival was held around the Vernal Equinox around Asia Minor and eventually in Rome itself from the Ides of March (15 March) to 18 March.
The ancient Romans also had another holiday, Matronalia, that was dedicated to Juno, though mothers were usually given gifts on this day.
In addition to Mother's Day, International Women's Day is celebrated in many countries on March 8.
In 1912, Anna Jarvis trademarked the phrases "second Sunday in May" and "Mother's Day", and created the Mother's Day International Association.
"She was specific about the location of the apostrophe; it was to be a singular possessive, for each family to honour their mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world."
This is also the spelling used by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in the law making official the holiday in the U.S., by the U.S. Congress on bills, and by other U.S. presidents on their declarations.
Common usage in English language also dictates that the ostensibly singular possessive "Mother's Day" is the preferred spelling.
Great Britain and Ireland
Mothering Sunday is a Christian festival celebrated throughout Europe. Secularly it is used as a celebration of motherhood, and is synonymous with Mother's Day as celebrated in other countries; the latter name is also increasingly used.
A religious festival celebrating motherhood has been existent in Europe since approximately 250 BC when the Romans honoured the mother goddess Cybele during mid-March. As the Roman Empire and Europe converted to Christianity, Mothering Sunday celebrations became part of the liturgical calendar as Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday in Lent to honour the Virgin Mary and the "mother church".
During the sixteenth century, people returned to their mother church for a service to be held on Laetare Sunday. This was either a large local church, or more often the nearest Cathedral. Anyone who did this was commonly said to have gone "a-mothering", although whether this preceded the term Mothering Sunday is unclear. It was often the only time that whole families could gather together, if prevented by conflicting working hours.
The Epistle for the fourth Sunday in Lent as set out in the Book of Common Prayer gives a special place to the theme of maternal love: Galatians 4:26 states that "Jerusalem which is above is free; which is Mother of us all."
The other names attributed to this festival include Simnel Sunday, Refreshment Sunday and Rose Sunday. Simnel Sunday is named after the practice of baking Simnel cakes to celebrate the reuniting of families during the austerity of Lent. Because there is traditionally a lightening of Lenten vows on this particular Sunday in celebration of the fellowship of family and church, the lesser-used label of Refreshment Sunday is also used, although rarely today.
Rose Sunday is sometimes used as an alternative title for Mothering Sunday as well, as is witnessed by the purple robes of Lent being replaced in some churches by rose-coloured ones.