→Early Origin of Mother's Day
==Early Origin of Mother's Day==
Mother's Day is a common observance, both religious and secular versions, in many countries, including Christian, Muslim, and other countries. The early history of the holiday connect to the ancient Near East, Greek, and other Old World cultures that celebrated the mother goddess, such as Cybele, Rhea in Greek mythology, and other similar versions of either mother goddesses or important wives of gods. There is no ancient source to call for a designated day called Mother's Day, but traditions of celebrating motherhood and, more broadly, the rearing of children have existed perhaps at least since the Pleistocene (i.e., before 12,000 years ago). The celebration of fertility, childbearing, and motherhood were important to past societies that often had high death rates in childhood but also for mothers. Flowers, a key symbol of life, were often associated with motherhood and nurture. Celebrations included offering and sacrifices to the mother goddess for good luck. Many of these celebrations took place around the time of the spring equinox (March 20), but the celebration also occurred at other times of the year.<ref>For more on the influence of Mother goddesses and religious association with Mother's Day traditions internationally, see: Borgeaud, P. (2004). Mother of the gods: from Cybele to the Virgin Mary. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press </ref>
The popularity of Mother's Day, or the celebration of motherhood, continued into the Christian Era. In fact, many aspects of sacred motherhood, associated with earlier religions, were ascribed to the Virgin Mary. The fourth Sunday of the Lent season was often reserved to remember the Virgin Mary and also to bless motherhood and mothers, which is the day that became known as Mothering Sunday in Christian Europe (Figure 1). Similar to the pre-Christian traditions, this was used as a way to pray for the safety and health of mothers in particular due to the difficulties of childbearing. Thus, traditionally in Catholic and even Protestant countries that adopted the tradition, Mothering Sunday was celebrated exactly three weeks before Easter. This explains why Europe often has a different date in celebrating Mother's Day, which Mothering Day later transformed to.<ref>For more on celebrations of Mothering Sunday, see: Ozihel, Harding. (2011). Mothering Sunday. Frac Press.</ref>
In 16th century period, Mothering Sunday became associated with people returning to their mother church. Symbols associated with the Virgin Mary, during the Protestant Reformation, led to alternative symbolism on Mothering Sunday. In Protestant Europe, this meant the church became the mother of its flock and people. People would then return to their home churches on Mothering Sunday.
[[File:1755212 ac630ac2.jpg|thumbnail|Figure 1. Mothering Sunday is a popular holiday in Catholic and Protestant countries in Europe.]]