Mother’s Day is a relatively recent celebration. It has its origins in the USA where Anna Jarvis (1864-1948) from Philadelphia campaigned for a special day to honour mothers. Then in Britain, Constance Smith promoted a similar occasion but known as Mothering Sunday.
The French celebrate a similar event on the last Sunday in the month of May. Traditionally the mother is presented with a cake that looks like a bouquet of flowers. Mother’s Day in Spain is celebrated on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December. They honour their own mothers and the Virgin Mary.
Mother’s Day 2016 in Australia will be held on Sunday 8th May, which is the second Sunday in May. Traditionally, chrysanthemums are given to mothers for Mother’s Day as the flower is in season during May and ends in "mum", a common affectionate shortening of "mother" in Australia.
Mother’s Day in Australia is more than just giving your Mum (or Mother-in-law) a bunch of flowers or a gift. In Australia, Mother’s Day is a special day for family gatherings, typically over a shared meal. For many people, Mother’s Day represents an opportunity to get together with family so it is not only a special day for Mum but for the whole family.
For those whose mothers are deceased, there is a tradition of visiting the cemetery and placing fresh flowers at the graveside. In these cases there is a tinge of sadness to Mother’s Day. Women who are not mothers can also feel despondent on Mother’s Day.
Look for opportunities to celebrate all the ways that women nurture life and contribute to the lives of others when you gather for Mother’s Day. Be conscious of the traditions that your family has, maintain them but also develop them and tell the stories of their origins so that younger members of the family can keep the traditions alive into the future.
I’m not sure what role prayer has in your celebration of Mother’s Day. It may not be possible for your family to pray together but I encourage you to take a moment to give thanks in the course of the day, wherever you are and in the midst of whatever you are doing.
However you celebrate, I wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day.