The month of May brings to us the wonderful opportunity to celebrate the unique occasion called Mother's Day. For each of us, this is the time to pay a tribute to that special person whose soft hand nurtures us to what we become in life. It is impossible to pay back even a fraction of the affection and care that we get from our mothers. Mother's Day is a symbol of the depth of the love of every human being for his/her mother. It is a day set aside only for the mother - one of the most beautiful persons in our lives.
Mother's Day is a relatively modern concept and quite different from Mothering Sunday, the occasion that began to be celebrated from the 16th century. Mothering Sunday did not begin as a celebration of motherhood, but was rather a time when people attended their local churches for a service to be held on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Though Mother's Day once had some connections with this day, it is an occasion that is especially dedicated to all mothers of the world and observed by all offspring to acknowledge the contribution of their mothers in their lives. The festival is said to have begun from ancient times and believed to have got its roots from the spring celebrations of ancient Greece in honor of Rhea, the Mother of the Gods. The holiday is also often supposed to have risen from the ancient Roman holiday, "Matronalia", that was dedicated to Juno - the Roman deity who is mentioned to be the wife and sister of Lord Jupiter in Roman mythology. It was during this latter festival that human mothers were also honored along with the Goddess and gifts were given to them, a tradition that is now the highlight of the modern Mother's Day celebrations.
In the United States, Mother's Day started about a century and half earlier due to the efforts of the American social activist Julia Ward Howe and Anna Marie Reeves Jarvis, an Appalachian homemaker. The occasion as dreamt of by both these women, however, was vastly different from how we celebrate it today. It was Jarvis' daughter, Anna Jarvis, who finally succeeded in introducing Mother's Day in the modern sense.
The earliest Mother's Day observances witnessed people celebrating the day following such traditions as attending church, writing letters to their mothers, and sending cards, presents and flowers. As years passed by, the occasion gained more and more popularity and saw the emergence of a greater number of customs. Today the holiday is officially celebrated in the U.S. every year on the second Sunday of May. With U.S. Presidential recognition, Mother's Day has become a time to honor all mothers. For millions of mothers across the world, it is a time of breakfast in bed, family gatherings, and crayon scribbled "I Love You"s. In recent years, Mother's Day has become a hugely popular occasion in the US. In many other nations of the world, the tradition of Mother's Day observance has caught on from North America and Europe. But the date of the observance varies throughout the world. Not surprisingly, even the nature and extent of the celebrations of this special day differ greatly in different places. In some countries, it is almost an offence to your mother if you do not observe the occasion. Then there are such other nations where it is a little-known festival celebrated mainly by immigrants, or covered by the media as a taste of foreign culture.