How the World Celebrates Mother's Day
By 1911, the holiday was celebrated in nearly all the states. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Mother’s Day a national holiday that was to be held each year on the second Sunday of May.
While Anna Jarvis was still a young girl, Julia Ward Howe was already trying to establish a Mother’s Day in America. Horrified by the carnage of the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian war, she wrote the Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870, (according to Norman F. Kendall’s Mothers day: A History of Its Founding and Its Founder), in which she calls for “all women who have hearts” to arise and stand for peace in the name of their husbands and their sons.
But the idea of celebrating mothers is neither new nor limited to the United States. The ancient Greeks celebrated Mother’s Day in the spring. They used to honor Rhea, Greek goddess of earth, mountains, and forests; mother of the gods; and daughter of Uranus and Gaia. Married to her brother Cronus, Rhea was the mother of Demeter, Hades, Hera, Hestia, Poseidon, and Zeus.
Rhea is identified with mother goddess Cybele from Asia Minor and is known as Rhea Cybele and Magna Mater, the “great mother.” She was worshiped in the old days with orgiastic rites and offerings of honey cakes, fine drinks, and flowers at dawn.
In contemporary Greece, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the first Sunday in May, with the birthday-like tradition of giving gifts and flowers, which seems to have been adopted worldwide. Typical specialties served on that day include a Greek-style, phyllo-dough pastry filled with sweetened nuts, raisins, and almonds, then topped with syrup. Spanakopita and tiropita pastry are also sold by street vendors. The former consist of phyllo-style, flaky pastry stuffed with a spinach mix, while the latter has a cheese-based stuffing.
YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN