A Potted History of Mothers Day (and why you should buy flowers)

Do you remember a time without Mothers Day? If you don’t, it’s probably because it has been celebrated throughout the world for nearly 100 years now. In fact, Mothers Day celebrations date back to the Greek and Roman Empire eras. It’s origins of introduction into modern society, however, date back to the UK where Mothering Sunday was celebrated. Since then, both florists and sentiment card companies consider Mothers Day to be by far their busiest time of the year. More white carnations are sold worldwide over the week of Mother’s Day than what are sold the rest of the year combined. In fact, in the United States the busiest mail time of the year is May entirely because of the amount of Mothers Day cards that are sent out over that month.

Earliest documented history of Mothers day

The earliest history of Mothers Day celebrations dates back to the Greeks annual spring festival that they dedicated to the maternal goddesses. The Ancient Romans also celebrated a similar spring festival that they dedicated to their mother goddess (Cybele).

The early Christians celebrated a form of mothers day on the fourth Sunday of Lent to honour the Virgin Mary. England later expanded this honour to all mothers and so the tradition Mothering Sunday came about.

Mothering Sunday

Just like the early Christians, Mothering Sunday was celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent every year by England. This tradition for the British started around the 1600’s.

By the early 1900, ‘s Mothering Sunday had all but died out until shortly after World War 2 when American servicemen brought the custom back to the United States as a means to sell gift-giving wares. Mothers Day today, although celebrated on a variety of dates, is practised by 46 countries throughout the world.

Although here in Australia, we celebrate Mothers Day with many of the UK and US traditions, it was Australian Janet Heyden, from Sydney who first began in 1924 to campaign for gift to be given to mothers who were ageing and alone.

The Tradition of Carnations for Mothers Day

Have you ever wondered how the custom to give flowers on Mothers Day came about? It’s not because the day is observed in the springtime (although that is one reason). Giving your mother flowers on Mothers Day actually stems from a lady from the US called Anna Jarvis.

Known in the United States as the Mother of Mothers Day, Anna Jarvis is considered the unofficial founder of Mothers Day in the United States. It was this woman who led the charge in the lobby for Mothers Day to be recognised in the US. Her customs have travelled around the world, but her story is one that touches the hearts of many.

Anna Jarvis had a very close relationship with her mother. When her mother died in 1901, she decided to honour her by sending her mother’s favourite flowers (white carnations) to her church on every Mothering Sunday.

Because Anna Jarvis felt that all mothers (living and deceased) should be honoured (as did her deceased mother), shortly after her mother’s death she began writing letters to people of influence and power to officially recognise Mothering Sunday, by 1914 President Wilson signed a joint resolution to officially designate the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.


Presenting your mother with flowers is recognised by tradition to say I’m grateful for all you have done for me, which is why every mother loves and looks forward to the beautiful bouquet that arrives on Mothers Day from the people she loves most, her children.

If you are planning to honour your mother with a beautiful arrangement of her favourite fresh flowers, you can conveniently purchase them online. Fresh flower deliveries of stunning bouquets to be delivered right to her doorstep are an easy click away. Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers out there!

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