Mother's Day: The History Behind a Holiday Devoted to Our Mothers

in category of Opinions, Abby Lee Hood


Mother's Day as we know it is truly a modern concept. Just like any holiday, it has its roots in ancient history, but has evolved so much over the years that it hardly resembles its original incarnation. Mother's Day used to be more about saints and deities that represent motherhood, rather than the actual human element we celebrate today. In recent history, though, Mother's Day has gradually taken on the shape we see it in today - a celebration and day of appreciation for our mothers, the most important people in our lives.

The earliest known celebration of "Mother's Day" can be traced back to ancient Egypt. The Egyptians held an annual festival to worship the goddess Isis, who is commonly hailed as the mother of pharaohs. Her brother was murdered and cut into pieces, and after his death, she reassembled his parts, Frankenstein-style, and impregnated herself. (I am wondering about the incestual implications of this legend...). At any rate, her son grew up to defeat his father's (and uncle's as well, because his mother's other brother was the murderer) murderer and became the first ruler of a unified Egypt; thus, Isis is the mother of all pharaohs.

Europe eventually developed its own version of the holiday, though it was to celebrate the "Mother Church" (the church in which they were baptized), rather than actual mothers themselves. When the Pilgrims came to America, they dropped that holiday like many of the other European customs they so loathed at the time. The first Mother's Day as we know it came to be in 1870, when an official proclamation was written to celebrate motherhood and peace. The day was never really set in stone, and died out a few years later.

By 1900, forty-six states were celebrating Mother's Day, and it was signed into national observance in 1914. Since then, America has honored its mothers and their devotion with flowers, cards, and smiles. Many other countries now celebrate a version of the holiday.

Mother's Day is now quite a large holiday, and it's coming up this Sunday! If you haven't yet gotten you mum a gift or a memento, check out the article on the best Mother's Day gift ideas. You may not have time to order anything online, but that shouldn't stop you from doing something creative! I plan on taking a picture with a road sign that boasts my mother's last name and framing it. I also ordered her some flowers today. I encourage you to use your brain and think of something personal and unique as a Mother's Day gift. This is a pretty important day in America, and you should celebrate it with the best intentions. Here's to hoping we never stop celebrating motherhood, and that we always let our parents know how much we love them! 


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