Honoring Mothers Worldwide

I always wanted to make gifts for my mother each year for Mother's Day. This year I’m inspired to make a special offer to those who want to knit a personal gift for their Mom or another special Mom. I’m also inspired to discover how celebrating mothers became a tradition. My research revealed that this occasion is celebrated in more than 46 countries around the world. In many instances, the observance is derived from the holiday as it is celebrated in the United States. However, in some countries and cultures it has distinct meanings, happens on different dates, and is associated with specific events—religious, historical, legendary. Here are a few examples. Bolivia’s celebration was passed into law in 1927 and is held on the same date as an 1812 battle during the Bolivian War of Independence, in which many women perished fighting for their country. In Hindu tradition the event is referred to as Mother Pilgrimage Fortnight. The holiday is based on the Hindu religion and predates the US inspired celebration by a few centuries. In Armenia, Mother’s Day is celebrated twice a year as Maternity and Beauty Day. Giving gifts to mothers in Australia was the inspiration of Janet Heyden in 1924 after encountering many lonely and forgotten women in a home for ladies supported by the state. There, Chrysanthemums are given to women as the flower ends in “mum", the affectionate shortening of "mother" in Australia. In Indonesia mothers are honored on the anniversary of the opening day of the first Indonesian Women Congress, which was held in December 1928. The United Kingdom celebrates Mothering Sunday, which has its roots in the 16th century Christian practice of visiting one’s mother church annually. This tradition resulted in mothers being reunited with their children when young apprentices and women-in-service were released by their masters for that weekend. It was first celebrated in the U.S. when Anna Jarvis held a memorial service for her mother at St. Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia in 1908. Upon the death of her mother in 1905, she started a campaign to make Mother’s Day a national holiday. By 1911 all states observed the holiday and in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother’s Day as a national holiday. This year I hope you’ll enjoy creating something special for your mother. Since mine is no longer with us, my sisters are now the honorees in my family. The tradition continues.