Do you know where the tradition of Mother's Day comes from? From ancient Greece to the 20th century, let's look back at the history and origins of Mother's Day in France.
Celebrated in May, Mother's Day is a tradition that brings together young and old to honor the one who gave them life. It is a golden opportunity to show our mothers all the love we have for them and to spend a convivial moment with the family.
In France, Mother's Day is usually celebrated on the last Sunday of May, except when the month of May is occupied by Pentecost, in which case it is postponed to the first Sunday of June. However, this is not the case in many other countries such as the United States or New Zealand, where Mother's Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of May, or in the United Kingdom, which celebrates Mothering Sunday in March. If this holiday is known by all, its origins remain unknown. And for good reason, they are multiple and go back to Antiquity.
The history of Mother's Day: its ancient origins
It is in ancient Greece that we plunge our journey on the traces of the Mother's Day. Indeed, it is none other than Rhea, the mother of Zeus, who was the first to see her role as mother plebiscite during spring ceremonies given in her honor. On the other side of the Ionian Sea, the Roman matrons were celebrated in March, during religious festivals called Matronalia.
It is no coincidence that these early Mother's Day celebrations take place around springtime, since this is the season of fertility, when nature is reborn.
The origins of Mother's Day in France
In order to compensate for the declining birth rate in France at the end of the 1800s, the National Alliance for the Increase of the Population of France movement set out to restore the image of motherhood. The actions carried out to these ends will lead to the creation of an official day in honor of the parents of large families.
A few years later and not without connection with the natalist tendency which tinted this time, an eminent inhabitant of the village of Artas in Isère marks the history of the Mother's Day. Himself the father of a large family, he initiated in 1906 a day in honor of the mothers of large families and to those he considered the most deserving a prize of "high maternal merit".
Although Mother's Day began to emerge at the beginning of the 20th century, it was not until after the First World War that the concept was expanded and extended to Europe under the name Mother's Day. Towards the end of the war, in 1917, General Pershing had tribute postcards distributed to all his soldiers to send to their mothers for the occasion. This gesture continued afterwards with a macabre connotation, since in 1918 a day was celebrated in honor of mothers who had lost a son in combat.
Little by little, the link between Mother's Day and mourning left the consciousness, and Mother's Day was made official by the government in 1926. The solemn aspect of this day is gradually transformed into a festive aspect, and it is in post-war France on May 24th 1950 that the expression "Mother's Day" is born.
A gift for Mother's Day
In schools, Mother's Day was soon seen as an opportunity to provide children with fun crafts. The famous tradition of noodle necklaces has become part of popular culture, although it is now being replaced by personalized cards.
But children aren't the only ones who take advantage of this opportunity to please their mom! Adults of all ages also play the game, to the delight of those interested. Bouquets of flowers, jewelry, chocolates and refined sweets, everything is allowed to make the eyes of those who raised us sparkle.