Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. It’s Mother’s Day as I write this and even though Mother’s Day will be over by the time you see it, I thought it would be fun to share some history and fun facts that surround this special occasion. And yes, I know that for many of us, this Mother’s Day was celebrated differently than what we might have liked
Mothers have been celebrated throughout history.
- In one of the earliest celebrations was in ancient Greece. In the spring they would honor Rhea, mother of the gods and the goddess of fertility, motherhood and generation.
- In ancient Roman there was also a spring festival celebrating a mother goddess named Cybele. It was held on the Ides of March, lasted three days and was called Hilaria. It involved having her followers make offerings at the temple, hold parades and masquerades and play games.
- In England the day coincides with an observance called Mothering Sunday. Originating in the 17th century, it takes place on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Traditionally, families who had moved away would return home to the original church they attended. A prayer service honoring the Virgin Mary was held and then afterwards children would present flowers to their own mothers.
- In America, the celebration had a different origin.
In an effort to honor her own mother Anna Jarvis, who was not a mother herself, wanted to establish a day to celebrate mothers in an intimate manner. She tirelessly campaigned to that end and in May of 1913 President Woodrow Wilson signed a Joint Resolution designating the second Sunday in May to be Mother’s Day, thus making it a national day of celebration.
Unfortunately Anna’s story does not have a happy ending. She quickly became disillusioned with the holiday, declaring it had become overly commercialized and that this detracted from the personal aspects she had envisioned. She began staging boycotts and walkouts. Anna eventually spent all her money fighting her cause and died, destitute, at the age of 84 in a sanitorium.
- In 2017 approximately $23.5 billion was spent on Mother’s Day gifts and the average consumer in the US spent a little over $185 on their moms.
- Mother’s Day holds the record as the third highest day for flower and plant purchases Only Christmas and Hanukkah rank higher. In fact, approximately one fourth of all flowers purchased annually are bought for Mother’s Day. Something that may account for why Mothers love getting flowers is that a study conducted by Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D of Harvard Medical School, found that that when fresh-cut flowers are around it generally makes people more compassionate and happier in general.
- It will probably also come as no surprise that Mother’s Day is the most popular day of the year for folks to eat out, beating out even Valentine’s Day for that honor. In 2018 approximately 87 million adults visited restaurants on Mother’s Day.
- And for those who can’t be there in person to take their mom to a restaurant, Mother’s Day is also the day that ranks as the highest for number of phone calls made. That number reaches something around 122 million.
- In 2018 Approximately $4.6 billion was spent on jewelry during the Mother’s Day buying period.
- And of course the most popular item to give Mother on her special day is a card. Every Mother’s Day about 152 million cards are sent.
- During the 1920s France handed out medals to mothers who had large families. This was done to signify gratitude for helping to rebuild the population of the country that was devastated by the loss of so many lives during WWI. The practice was eventually discontinued and today the more common gift for a mother in France is a cake shaped like a flower.
- The record for the oldest woman to give birth is held by a retired schoolteacher in India. Satyabhama Mahapatra gave birth to a boy at age 65.
- The record for the shortest length of time between births is held by Jayne Bleackley whose two babies were born only 208 days apart.
- On the flip side, the woman who holds the record for the longest interval between births is Elizabeth Buttle. Her first child was born in May of 1956 and her second in November of 1997 when Elizabeth was 60. The infants were born 41 years and 185 days apart.
- The record for the highest number of babies born to a single woman is a whopping 69! The woman was a Russian peasant living in the 18th century. She gave birth to 16 sets of twins, seven sets of triplets and 4 set of quadruplets.
- And did you ever wonder why the word for Mom in nearly every language starts with an “M” sound? It is likely because the first sound an infant learns to verbalize is the ma sound. Since babies only need to open and close their lips to make these sounds – no teeth or tongue are needed – it comes more easily to them than other sounds.
There you have it. Did any of these facts surprise you? Also, how do you normally celebrate Mother’s Day and how was it different this year? Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for winner’s choice of any book from my backlist.