Mother’s Day: A history and remembrance

History and remembrance for Mother’s Day

I love history. It was one of my favourite subjects at school.  I can read about and listen to the tales of old that capture my imagination, forever. One of the values of history is its ability to provide a useful context for our present-day activities and the events we mark and celebrate.

I remember I had a real epiphany with history when I was doing my Ph.D. I struggled to move forward because I had not identified a historical grounding to understand a modern explanation for my subject of enquiry. I remained adrift until my searches revealed the historical context that had been passed down through generations.

For this reason, I think it’s worthwhile exploring the origins of Mother’s Day (14 March) as whilst it is celebrated worldwide, its versions and traditions vary.

Mother’s Day

Celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. They held festivals in honour of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele.

The Christian festival known as ‘Mothering Sunday’ was adopted as Mother’s Day in UK. Over time the Mothering Sunday tradition shifted to a more secular celebration, where children give their mothers presents as reminders of their love and gratitude.

The origin of Mother’s Day in the USA was born out of 19th century “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” where women learned how to properly care for their children. In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day has also been used for launching political or feminist causes. In 1968 Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King Jr. used Mother’s Day to host a march in support of underprivileged women and children.


There can be no doubt that this Mother’s Day will evoke both history and remembrance. A lot of children will mourn their mothers lost to the COVID-19 pandemic. Let us honour them.

My mother died in 1999. Most of all I remember a mother who was the paragon of joyfulness, fidelity, love, and generosity, giving unselfishly of herself, her time, her many skills. She retained that marvellous sense of sociability, social grace, and humour to the very end.

Her life was what life is meant to be: a nurturing of relationships and a storehouse of happy memories. She left a void of presence in our daily lives, but she will be carried in her family’s hearts forever with the deepest affection, gratitude, and respect.

Photo by Dreamstime ID 11502452

Tra for now.


P.S. Could a gift for Mum be in the Magi Rose shop?