In the U.S. Mothers' Day is a holiday celebrated on second Sunday in May. It is a day when children honor their mothers with cards, gifts, and flowers. First observance in Philadelphia, Pa. in 1907, it is based on suggestions by Julia Ward Howe in 1872 and Anna Jarvis in 1907.
Although it wasn't celebrated in the U.S. until 1908, there were days honoring mothers even in the days of ancient Greece. In those days, however, it was Rhea, the Mother of the gods that was given honor.
Later, in the 1600's, in England there was an annual observance called "Mothering Sunday." It was celebrated during Lent, on the fourth Sunday. On Mothering Sunday, the servants, who generally lived with their employers, were encouraged to return home and honor their mothers. It was traditional for them to bring a special cake along to celebrate the occasion.
In the U.S., in 1908 Ana Jarvis, from Grafton, West Virginia, began a campaign to establish a national Mother's Day. Jarvis persuaded her mother's church in Grafton, West Virginia to celebrate Mother's Day on the anniversary of her mother's death. A memorial service was held there on May 10, 1908 and in Philadelphia the following year where Jarvis moved.
Jarvis and others began a letter-writing campaign to ministers, businessmen, and politicians in their quest to establish a national Mother's Day. They were successful. President Woodrow Wilson, in 1914, made the official announcement proclaiming Mother's Day a national observance that was to be held each year on the 2nd Sunday of May.
Many other countries of the world celebrate their own Mother's Day at different times throughout the year. Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Australia, and Belgium celebrate Mother's Day on the second Sunday in May, as in the U.S.