We all know our Mums deserve special attention every day, but on the second Sunday in May (that’s May 8, in 2022) there’s plenty of opportunity to make them feel even more loved.
What started in 1906 in America as a service held at a local Methodist Church as way for a daughter (Anna Jervis) to honour the work of her peace activist mother (Ann Jervis) on the first anniversary of her death, has evolved into an event recognised in many countries throughout the world.
Anna sent white carnations to everyone who attended her first large public service on May 10, 1908, as a way of saying thank you and carrying forward the message of peace.
Over time the day became a celebration of mothers and motherhood, and the gift giving associated with it now is limited only by the imagination of the gift giver.
In Australia, Sydneysider Janet Heyden is credited with kickstarting the gift giving trend in 1924 after launching a public appeal for gifts to take to mothers in the Newington State Home. When shopkeepers noticed a boost in sales – they started to promote Mother’s Day every year.\
Here’s 10 interesting facts about Mother’s Day to keep the conversation going at this year’s picnic, lunch, dinner, breakfast in bed or high tea.
- The official flower of Mother’s Day is the carnation. Wearing a coloured carnation indicates a person’s mother is living. A white carnation is to honour a mother who has passed away.
- In Australia – with Mother’s Day falling in Autumn, not Spring – when carnations are plentiful, the chrysanthemum has become the flower of choice. Maybe because it has “mum” in its name!
- This year, in up to 70 locations around Australia more than 100,000 walkers and runners will take to the streets in Mother’s Day Classic fundraising events, wearing pink and fundraising to support and honour those affected by breast cancer. 2022 marks the 25th anniversary of these events which started in 1998 in Sydney and Melbourne with just 3000 participants. Visit: mothersdayclassic.com.au
- Hallmark, the card people, estimate more than 152 million Mother’s Day cards are given out each year in the United States.
- The most up to date statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that in 2020 there were 294,369 births recorded over 12 months – hundreds of thousands of new Mums to celebrate. It is estimated there are 6 million mothers in Australia.
- A Salary.com survey released in 2018 estimated stay at home Mums should be paid at least $162,581 a year based on the 24/7, 365-day a year commitment involved. Fair chance that figure’s a touch higher now in the wake of pandemic lockdowns, home schooling, and health monitoring.
- 168 countries around the world celebrate Mother’s Day – although the timing differs with Mother’s Day celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent in the United Kingdom for example.
- A 2021 survey by Finder.com.au in Australia reported that Australians expected to spend $1.2 billion on Mother’s Day with flowers (26%), cards (20%) and chocolates (19%) in the top three gifts listed. Jewellery (12%), a meal out (12%), pyjamas (12%) and home made gifts (8%) were the next most common responses.
- The 2016 Census by the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported 54% of mothers were born in Australia, followed in the top 10 by 6% born in England, 3% in China, 3% in New Zealand, 3% in India, 2% in Italy, 1% in Vietnam, 1% in the Phillipines, 1% in Scotland and 1% in Greece. The remaining 18% of mothers came from some 290 different countries or political-geographic areas and accounted for less than 1% each.
- Across the world, in most of the languages spoken, the word for mother starts with the letter M.