Mothers Day

Posted on May 06, 2016

In 1908 in West Virginia, Anna Davis’ mother died. Anna decided her mother deserved a memorial, and held a service in her honour. She then began a campaign to have Mother’s day recognised as an official public holiday. Although the Federal government declined, Mother’s Day was taken up unofficially all over America, and some states did, indeed, make it official.
In the early 1920s, Hallmark began printing greetings cards to mark Mother’s Day. This led to a degree of commercialisation which Anna Davis so deplored that she tried to put the genie back in the bottle by organising boycotts, insisting that the purposes of the Day were sentimental, not commercial.

Perhaps fortunately for those of us in the giftware business, Davis was unsuccessful, and Mother’s Day continues to this day throughout the English speaking world. In one tiny respect, however, Anna Davis’ original vision is preserved – the position of the apostrophe. She insisted that Mother’s Day was “a singular possessive, for each family to honour its mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world.”

Since it is not a holy festival, Mother’s Day is free of the constraints of the ecclesiastical calendar, and is celebrated at various times throughout the world. Some nations choose to back-associate Mother’s Day with Christian holidays. Thus the British Isles celebrates it on Mothering Sunday, the fourth Sunday in Lent. Arab countries tend to favour the spring equinox, the 21st of March.

Here in Australia, we celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May – this year the 8th of May. We’re in good company – the second Sunday of May is the choice of no fewer than 84 others, including the USA.

The Mother’s Day tradition was begun in Australia by Janet Hayden, who lived in Leichhardt, Sydney. In 1924 she was visiting a patient in Newington State Home for Women, and noticed that it contained many forgotten, neglected and lonely mothers. She determined to cheer them up, and recruited local school children and businesses to donate and deliver gifts to them. Even the Mayor was drawn into the effort, and it became an annual event.

From the start, Mother’s Day in Australia was an autumn event, while for most of the rest of the world it takes place in spring. Chrysanthemums were quickly adopted as the traditional Mother’s Day bloom. This is partly because the chrysanthemum is in season in May, and partly because, rather charmingly, its name ends in “-mum”!

Australians are enthusiastic Mother’s Day participants, and giftware retailers should make sure their displays are well-stocked with merchandise, particularly for the last-minute purchases of cards and novelties that are very much a part of the retail pattern for Mother’s Day.

At Dormar Indents we have Mother’s Day balloons and cards, of course. But we also have accessories specifically targeted at Mums, like chrysanthemum-themed Mother’s Day coffee mugs, recipe books, photo frames and thermally insulated travel mugs. Visit the collection now, to place your order – and remember, we deliver anywhere in Australia.

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