1: Sunday Traditions
Since Mother’s Day officially falls on a Sunday, going to church remains to be a popular activity among families. In fact, the holiday’s peak church attendances rank in third behind Christmas and Easter, according to a recent survey with 1,000 Protestant pastors.
2: Myths and Mysteries
Ancient myths allude to the fact that Greeks and Romans celebrated Mother’s Day by honoring Goddess Cybele, personifying Great Mother Earth and Goddess of fertility, and Rhea, mother of the Gods.
3: Mother’s Day for Peace
Social activist Julia Ward Howe first brought the idea of a day centering on mothers to the United States after the Civil War, but Howe’s version was much different from the flowers-and-hugs version we know today. Howe wrote the Mother’s Day Proclamation and envisioned a Mother’s Day for Peace, in which women would protest against war. Some groups still observe the holiday in this manner, one of the most famous being a huge crowd of women who gathered outside the Lawrence Livermore Library at the University of California in 1982 to protest nuclear weapons.
4: Fight for Your Rights
The Mother’s Day we celebrate today was started by Anna Jarvis in the early 1900s. Jarvis got Congress to recognize the holiday, founded the Mother’s Day International Association and even trademarked the phrase “Mother’s Day.” Jarvis was inspired by her own mother, who had called for “Mothers Work Days” to improve conditions for soldiers on both sides during the Civil War.
5: Too Commercialized?
Less than a decade after she fought so hard to make it happen, Anna Jarvis ended up despising the holiday she helped popularize. She spoke out vehemently over the commercialization of Mother’s Day, called for its demise and was arrested during one of her protests in 1948.
6: Mother’s Day Around the World
Mother’s Day is the third most popular holiday in the world, second to only Christmas and Easter. Other countries celebrate their own versions of Mother’s Day. The UK has Mothering Sunday, which dates back to the 16th century and is observed on the fourth Sunday after Lent; Japan has its celebration of the Empress Kojun’s birthday, which has become just as commercialized as the American Mother’s Day; and Spain and Portugal celebrate on December 8 by honoring both the Virgin Mary and their own moms.
7: Flower Power
Florists might hawk huge Mother’s Day bouquets with exotic blooms and designer names, but the traditional gift is a single, simple carnation. Also interesting to note: A research study decoded why moms love getting flowers so much. The study, conducted by Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, concluded that flowers affect human behavior, making people feel more compassionate toward others and happier in general when fresh-cut blooms are around.
8: Millions of Moms
A Mother’s Day press release from the U.S. Census Bureau stated that there were about 85.4 million mothers in the United States (taken from a 2009 tally).
9: ‘Hi, Mom!’
As of 2006, Mother’s Day sees more phone calls than any other Sunday of the year, says Pew Research Center.
10: Money Talks
In 2015, the National Retail Federation reported that $21.2 billion was spent on Mother’s Day gifts that year. Nearly 80 percent of those who honored the holiday bought a card. Almost 70 percent purchased flowers, and 34 percent opted for jewelry. How much jewelry? Jewelry spending hit 4.3 billion in 2015.
11: Full-Time Job
The job of a mother is never done. It’s a 24/7 commitment. According to the 2015 Insure.com Mother’s Day Index, if you put monetary value on the many things Mom handles in the household, her market value would be an impressive $65,284. You rock, moms!
12: It’s In the Cards
About 80 percent of Mother’s Day cards are purchased by women.