Mother’s Day in Germany and the United States

By Darlene Fuchs on Email

Mother’s Day in Germany

Mother’s Day has been celebrated in Germany since 1923, since 1917 in Switzerland, 1918 in Finland and Norway, 1919 in Sweden and in Austria since 1924. The day is a holiday in honor of mother and motherhood. In Germany, Mother’s Day was finally established by the Association of German Flower shop owners, displaying posters “Honor the mother” stressing that it was a day that flowers were the desired gift.

During the period of National Socialism, the celebration of Mother’s Day was linked to the idea of a “Germanic master race”. Childbearing mothers were celebrated as heroes to the people. Das Mutterkreuz, the German Cross of Honor, was awarded to mothers who produced children for the Vaterland. (The medal was nicknamed “Karnickelorden,” the “Order of the Rabbit.”)

After World War II the German holiday became a more unofficial one that took on the cards-and-flowers elements of the U.S. Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day in the US

Anna Jarvis is credited with founding today’s Mother’s Day in the US. On May 9, 1907 in Philadelphia, (the 2nd anniversary of the death of her own mother), she handed out 500 white carnations in her church to other mothers as an expression of her love for her deceased mother. Anna devoted her time to the goal of creating an official Mother’s Day and launched an initiative by writing letters to politicians, businessmen, clergy and women’s associations.

The movement grew rapidly and on May 8, 1914, the U.S. Congress adopted the Joint Resolution, under President Wilson, designating the Second Sunday in May, to be celebrated as “Mother’s Day.”  Ironically, Anna Jarvis, who later tried in vain to combat the increasing commercialization of the holiday, never became a mother herself.

Not surprisingly, flowers are still top on the list of popular gifts. What mother does not rejoice over a fragrant bouquet of fresh flowers, even if it comes from her own children, delivered with a few appreciative words.

Even after a Mother’s gone, her love will see you through
Her love will help you carry on, because that’s what Mother’s do.

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Darlene Fuchs