Mother’s Day and its Roots in Ancient Greece

Mother’s Day is not a celebration that is only a century old but a long tradition that has its roots in Ancient Greece, honoring the mother, as the life-giver.

Mother Earth (Gaia), wife of Uranus, was the personification of nature that gives birth to everything and she was worshipped as the ultimate deity. Her worship then passed to her  daughter Rhea, wife and sister of Cronus, who gave birth to several deities in Greek mythology.

Rhea was worshipped as the ‘Mother of Gods’ and ancient Greeks used to celebrate their annual spring festival to honor Rhea, the goddess of nature and fertility.

Ancient Romans also celebrated a spring festival by the name of Hilaria in honor of mother goddess Cybele, some 250 years before Christ was born.

Later, Christian Greece honored the mother associated with the feast of Ypapanti (Feb. 2). The Οrthodox Church celebrates the day the Virgin Mary, with Joseph, took the 40-day-old Jesus to the temple to be blessed.

However, in the 1960s, the celebration of Ypapanti lost its popularity and Greeks started  honoring of the mother on the second Sunday of May like the rest of the West, even though the Church insists on the old day of celebration.

The modern celebration of Mother’s Day was established in the 20th century and comes from the American women’s movement.

Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis organized for the first time in 1865 the Mothers Friendships Day movement and meetings called Mothers’ Day Meetings, where mothers exchanged views and experiences.

In 1870 Julia Ward Howe organized an event of mothers gathering under the slogan ‘peace and motherhood’ to prevent children from being sent to war.

Today, millions of people across the globe take the day as an opportunity to honor their mothers, thank them for their efforts in giving them life, raising them and being their constant support and well-wisher.