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History of Mothers Day

This celebration is not actually descended from the Christian Mothering Sunday or any of the many other religious and world celebrations of motherhood.

In 1908 in America Anne Jarvis held a memorial service for her mother. After this she started campaigning to have a special national holiday in aid of honouring mothers, Mothers Day. By 1914 she had managed to get this day recognised by the Government and signed off by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson.

The tradition caught on around the world and it became custom to give mothers day cards & mothers day gifts to mothers, grandmothers and maternal figure on this day. Business was keen on using the celebration to gain many sales and by the 1920s Anna Jarvis was disappointed by the days commercialisation. She spent the rest of her life and all of her familys inheritance campaigning against the commercialisation of the day, even being arrested in 1946 for disturbing the peace. She seems to have been rather a busy body. She saw the giving of greetings cards as too lazy to write your own message and eventually said she wished she never started the day. Perhaps she would have approved of giving a personalised mothers day gift. However it is likely the tradition would have soon faded away if it were not for the promotion of it by various businesses such as the florists.

The tradition has been adopted by many countries around the world and many have given the day a different date to coincide with existing religious holidays honoring mothers such as in Britain where it coincides with Mothering Sunday.

Mothering Sunday evolved from the 16th-century Christian practice of visiting one's mother church annually on Laetare Sunday. As a result of this tradition, most mothers were reunited with their children on this day when young apprentices and young women in service were released by their masters for that weekend. Influenced by the Americans coming over in World War II Mothering Sunday merged with Mothers day and is now a lot more about showing appreciation for your mother and buying flowers and gifts then it is about religion. The traditions of the two holidays are now mixed together and celebrated on the same day, although many people are not aware that the festivities were once separate holidays.

In the 1920s, Germany had the lowest birthrate in Europe, and the declining trend was continuing. This was attributed to women's participation in the labor market. At the same time, influential groups in society (politicians of left and right, churchwomen, and feminists) believed that mothers should be honored but could not agree on how to do so. However, all groups strongly agreed on the promotion of the values of motherhood. In 1923, this resulted in the unanimous adoption of Muttertag, the Mother's Day holiday as imported from America.

In 1938 the Nazi government began issuing an award called Mother's Cross (Mutterkreuz), according to categories that depended on the number of children a mother had. The medal was awarded on Mother's Day and also on other holidays due to the large number of recipients.

The Cross was an effort to encourage women to have more children, and recipients were required to have at least four.