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Celebrating Mother’s Day: fun facts and historical highlights

Mother’s Day is a cherished occasion celebrated worldwide to honour and appreciate the mothers, grandmothers, and maternal figures who play pivotal roles in our lives.

As we prepare to celebrate this special day on May 12, let’s explore some fun facts and historical highlights about Mother’s Day:

1. Ancient origins

The concept of honouring mothers has roots in ancient civilisations, including the Greeks and Romans, who held festivals to honour mother goddesses such as Rhea and Cybele.

2. Modern Mother's Day

The modern Mother’s Day holiday originated in the United States in the early 20th century. It was initiated by Anna Jarvis, who wanted to honour her late mother and advocate for the importance of maternal bonds.

3. Anna Jarvis' campaign

Image source

Anna Jarvis organised the first official Mother’s Day celebration in 1908 in Grafton, West Virginia, and later campaigned for Mother’s Day to be recognised as a national holiday. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation declaring Mother’s Day a national holiday to be celebrated on the second Sunday in May.

4. International celebration

Mother’s Day is celebrated on various dates around the world, but the second Sunday in May is the most common day for celebrations. As well as Australia, countries such as America, Canada, and India also observe Mother’s Day on this date. Despite the date differences, the sentiment of celebrating maternal love and sacrifice is universal.

5. Flowers and gifts

One of the most popular traditions associated with Mother’s Day is the giving of flowers and gifts to mothers and maternal figures. Carnations are often given on Mother’s Day, with white carnations symbolising purity and pink carnations representing gratitude and admiration.

6. Not just for birth mums

According to research from the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), about a fifth (19%) of people who purchase a present will be gifting somebody other than their birth mother. This includes their partner, friend, foster carer, mother-in-law, grandmother, sister, daughter and even men who have stepped up to fill the maternal role.

7. Mother's Day cards

The tradition of giving Mother’s Day cards dates back to the early 20th century. Hallmark produced its first Mother’s Day card in the early 1920s, and today, millions of Mother’s Day cards are exchanged worldwide each year.

8. Mother's Day brunch

Treating mothers to a special meal, such as brunch or dinner, has become a popular tradition on Mother’s Day. Many restaurants offer special Mother’s Day menus and promotions to celebrate the occasion. ARA research reveals around 20% will celebrate with a meal at a café or restaurant, while 35% will spoil mum with a feast at home.

9. Record-breaking celebrations

In 2014, the world’s largest Mother’s Day card was created in Istanbul, Turkey, measuring over 6,500 square feet. The card was signed by thousands of people and displayed in a shopping mall to honour mothers everywhere.

10. Mother's Day spending

Mother’s Day is a significant commercial holiday, with millions of dollars spent on gifts, cards, flowers, and dining each year. According to the ARA, Australians are set to spend $995 million on Mother’s Day this year – up $70 million (or 7.5%) from 2023. Flowers, alcohol or an experience will top the gift list.

11. Cost-of-living crunch

Despite the increased spend, 400,000 fewer people are set to buy Mother’s Day gifts this year – highlighting the impact of inflation. The higher overall spend is due to a higher spend per person of $102 (up from $92 in 2023), reflecting inflationary driven price increases and indicating those who are less affected by cost-of-living pressures are spending more.

Mercy Community celebrates Mother’s Day

Mercy Community residents and their families enjoyed Mother’s Day celebrations across our Residential Aged Care facilities.

As we celebrate Mother’s Day, let’s take the time to honour and appreciate the incredible mothers and maternal figures in our lives.

Whether through thoughtful gestures, heartfelt gifts, or simply spending quality time together, let’s show our gratitude for their love, support, and guidance.

As these photos show, our aged care residents enjoyed celebrating the occasion this week, with special morning and afternoon teas held in our residential aged care homes.

Families were also invited to share the fun, which involved plenty of tasty treats and entertainment.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mothers out there!

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