Why is US Mother’s Day on a different date to other countries?

A celebration that honors motherhood, Mother’s Day is held annually around the world on a range of different datesIt is observed on the second Sunday of May in the United States, where its origins lie in a West Virginia woman’s efforts to celebrate the good deeds of her late mother.

US Mother’s Day founded in 1907

In the early 20th century, Anna Jarvis wished to commemorate her mother Ann Jarvisan activist who had looked after injured soldiers during the American Civil War, and had set up women’s groups to promote health and friendship.

On 12 May 1907, the second anniversary of Ann’s death, Jarvis held a memorial service at her mother’s church in Grafton, West Virginia, and went on to campaign for Mother’s Day to be installed as a yearly celebration in the US. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed an executive order establishing Mother’s Day as a national holiday held on the second Sunday in May..

Initially, white carnations –Ann’s favorite flower –are given out on Mother’s Day in the US, before the current tradition of giving cards, flowers and gifts took overThis led Jarvis to become so disenchanted with the commercialisation of the holiday that she unsuccessfully fought to have it abolished.

Many nations around the world –around 100 –have followed the US’lead in celebrating Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May.

In UK and Ireland, Mother’s Day stems from centuries-old religious celebration

Many others have opted for a different date –and among the explanations for this is that the origins of that country’s Mother’s Day go back further than in America. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, for example, Mother’s Day is held on the fourth Sunday in Lent –the 40-weekday period before the Christian religious festival Easter.

This is because the UK and Ireland’s modern, secular Mother’s Day stems from the religious celebration Mothering SundayOn Mothering Sunday, Christians would visit their’mother’, or primary, church. Because of its association with Easter, the date of Mother’s Day in the UK can greatly vary.

There is also religious significance in other countries’ choice of dateIn Panama, like the UK a predominantly Christian country, Mother’s Day is on 8 December, coinciding with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Dates of national significance, International Women’s Day

There are also countries that have opted to tie their Mother’s Day to a specific date of national importanceIn Bolivia, Mother’s Day commemorates the HeroĆ­nas de la Coronilla, a group of women who on 27 May 1812 fought in the Battle of Pocona in the Bolivian War of Independence. In Thailand, it is celebrated on 12 August, the birthday of the Sirikit Kitikayara, the Thai queen mother.

In some countries, meanwhile, Mother’s Day is scheduled to coincide with International Women’s Dayheld on 8 March.

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