Mother’s Day, origin and tradition

Mother’s Day is traditionally celebrated every second Sunday in May. All mothers in the Netherlands are put in the spotlight and the children receive a nice gift to thank their mother. Many European countries celebrate Mother’s Day in addition to America, but where does this tradition originate?

2nd Sunday of May, 1905

The first stories of honoring a mother occur in ancient Greece, where they honored the mother Rhea. Rhea was the mother god of the earth and the Greeks honored her for that reason. Yet the origin of Mother’s Day has a completely different origin.

On the second Sunday of May (14 May) 1905, Ann Jarvis, an early woman who was involved in many associations for the women’s movement, died. Because she fought for this and did good work, her daughter Anne Marie Jarvis (1864-1948) was so proud of her mother that she wanted to hold a tribute for her mother on the anniversary of her death. After much effort, she convinced local churches and Sunday schools in West Virginia to hold a memorial service for her mother. From then on, this was the case every second Sunday in May.

Mother’s Day is becoming international

In 1914, Mother’s Day was still celebrated not only throughout the western part of the state, but throughout Virginia. The United States learned of this holiday and then introduced it everywhere and made it an official holiday. From then on, all mothers in the United States were honored on the second Sunday in May.

The holiday also spread to Europe, making it an international holiday. Denmark, Italy, Turkey, Belgium and Germany celebrated this holiday and even in Australia it became an official day. France did not participate in this, they celebrate Mother’s Day on the first Sunday of July.

Some other countries also celebrate Mother’s Day, but they celebrate this on August 15. This is the Assumption of Mary into Heaven and in many Catholic countries it is celebrated on that date for that reason.

Mother’s Day in the Netherlands

Because the Netherlands was occupied during the First World War, they did not celebrate Mother’s Day there. However, the German Nazi regime established Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May to honor German mothers for caring for children. The mothers received a medal for each child and were honored in this way. For that reason, Mother’s Day was only officially introduced in the Netherlands in 1925. The Netherlands did not want to participate in the Nazi regime’s holiday and therefore celebrated it much later.


Although Mother’s Day is now seen as a commercial day, the original celebration of Mother’s Day is to honor a mother out of gratitude. A mother stands for the household, is the link of the family and an important person for upbringing. A mother is a multi-talented woman who actually needs to be put in the spotlight every day.
The tradition is to make something for mother, a breakfast in bed, or a large bouquet of flowers. Nowadays, more expensive and larger gifts are also given due to commercialization in the world . But everyone can continue to thank mother for all that she does in their own way.