Why this day exists and who invented it

JEvery year, always at the beginning of May, the jigsaws are unpacked in many primary schools. With a lot of diligence and effort, countless hearts are sawn out of plywood, and in kindergartens little fingers dab colorful messages of love on colorful craft cardboard. Older children can make vouchers for “cleaning up the room for once” without grumbling or “vacuum the whole apartment for once” – that’s a promise! The reason is clear: Mother’s Day is coming up. Florists are also getting ready for one of their busiest sales days of the year. But where does the tradition of Mother’s Day actually come from, and when exactly does it take place this year? Here come the answers.

When is Mother’s Day?

Mother’s Day takes place every year on the second Sunday in May. So this year it is May 8, 2022. Mothers who have their children bring breakfast to bed on this day in Schleswig-Holstein can then walk to the ballot box with their families. Because in the northernmost federal state, the state elections will also take place on the same day this year.

Is Mother’s Day a Public Holiday?

Mother’s Day is one of the few special days in Germany that has no church background. It always takes place on the second Sunday in May. That is why it is not a public holiday and has no fixed date.

Who Invented Mother’s Day?

The day is not an invention of the retail trade, nor of the flower industry as some might believe. Even if the flower trade is not entirely uninvolved in the fact that the day has established itself in this country – we’ll get to that later. Another rumor, namely that the National Socialists introduced the day to honor mothers, also persists. But even that is only partially true. The mother cult has existed for much longer: the ancient Greeks worshiped mothers as early as antiquity and held festivals in honor of Zeus’ mother Rhea.

But Mother’s Day as we know it dates back to the invention of a feminist in the United States: Anna Marie Jarvis held the first Mother’s Day in 1907 in her hometown of Grafton, West Virginia. It took place on the Sunday after the second anniversary of the death of her mother Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis – the second Sunday in May – as the “Memorial Mother Day Meeting”. The mother had already campaigned for the rights of women, especially those of mothers.

As early as 1908, a memorial service was held on the Sunday of the second week of May and dedicated to all mothers. Jarvis then gave away 500 white and red carnations – her mother’s favorite flowers – to mothers in her hometown. In the years that followed, the childless Jarvis continued to do her best to establish Mother’s Day as a recognized holiday. With success: in 1914 the day was nationally recognized in the USA.

As early as 1912, the newly founded “Mother’s Day International Association” took care of the international spread of Mother’s Day. In the UK, the idea of ​​Mother’s Day was quickly embraced. It was associated there with the so-called “Mothering Sunday”, which is celebrated there on the fourth Sunday of Lent. In the years that followed, the tradition spread to large parts of Europe, including Switzerland, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

Since when is Mother’s Day celebrated in Germany?

The spread of Mother’s Day in Germany took place in the 1920s. But in this country it was not a political women’s movement that constituted the day, but the Association of German Flower Shop Owners. Posters in shop windows bearing the words “Honor the Mother”, advertising campaigns and events introduced Mother’s Day as “Day of Flower Wishes”. It was first celebrated on May 13, 1923.

During the Nazi era, the Nazis misused the idea of ​​the day for their propaganda purposes. Mothers with many children in particular were portrayed as heroines, as they secured the “Aryan race”. In 1933, the day was declared a public holiday for the first time and was celebrated on the third Sunday in May as a “day of remembrance and honor for German mothers”.

At the end of the Second World War, Mother’s Day was initially abolished in our country. But it was revived in the early 1950s, but only in the Federal Republic – in the GDR, International Women’s Day on March 8th replaced the “western-reactionary” custom.

What is a good Mother’s Day gift?

The classic gifts for Mother’s Day are – in addition to homemade items and vouchers – flowers and chocolates. If you can’t be with your mother on May 8th, you can send flower greetings to your mother. Some time ago, the FAZ tested online florists, you can read the result here: Say it with flowers from the box.

There are ideas for original and unconventional flower gifts in our article Grasses for Mom.

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