Mother’s Day has a rich heritage. It is celebrated in many cultures under many guises. Although it has gone through many transitions in order to give us the day that we currently have. It has always been a day for mothers that recognise the various contributions (and sacrifices) they have made while raising their children. It is believed that the day we now know as Mother’s Day was started in ancient Rome. Matronalia was a day that was dedicated to worshipping the goddess Juno. During Matronalia Romans visited gifts upon mothers and wives. Because Juno was a goddess who the Romans equated with protection and marriage, you can see how this connection was made.
The modern version of Mother’s Day we now have may not specifically derive from this holiday – however you can find many cultural precedents that stem from religion and sociology that stems from the cultural practices inherent in the culture. For instance, many countries that have a Catholic heritage base their Mother’s Day traditions on the Laetare Sunday holiday. This was a holiday that was set aside by the Catholic Church to celebrate the Virgin Mary (the mother of Christ). Mother’s Day was borne from this as a separate holiday that was specific to mothers.
Whilst Mother’s Day may change from country to country regarding what time of the year it is celebrated. The majority of countries celebrate it on the second Sunday of May. Although many countries have their own traditions that pertain to the celebration of motherhood; Mother’s Day as we now know it stems heavily from the Americanised version of Mother’s Day which dictates the giving of gifts to mothers. Many countries (because the holiday falls on a Sunday) do not actually call the holiday a holiday as such. Australia is one such country. However, it is still recognised by the general public as a holiday because it is a day that is hard to categorise in any other fashion.
Many countries have conglomerated the American practice of gift giving into their own celebrations. For instance, Bolivia celebrates Mother’s Day on a day in which many women fought in a battle for independence against the Spanish army. Although the day is not considered a happy or celebratory day, it is more a day that marks remembrance for sacrifices that have been made by women in general. Many countries also opt to celebrate International Women’s Day and couple it with a celebration of motherhood.