Mothers Day Australia

Mother's Day Australia

Mother's Day Australia 2023 will be celebrated on Sunday, May 14

Add the date to your calendar and be sure to do something special for your mum on Mother’s Day!

While honouring motherhood has long been a tradition in most ancient cultures, our modern Mother’s Day is a relatively new event. Not many people know that Mother’s Day, as we celebrate it today—with breakfast in bed, cards and presents—stems from the work of American feminist pioneers for women’s education and the right to vote.

If you are looking for ideas for the perfect gift to celebrate mum and show appreciation on Mother’s Day, Gifts Australia has something to make your mum feel fantastic!

If you're from the UK, you might wonder why is mother Day different in Australia?

The History of Mother’s Day

In 1858, peace activist, Ann Reeves Jarvis, created Mothers’ Day Work Clubs to improve public health and sanitary conditions in western Virginia. She focused on improving women’s access to health education. During the American Civil War, Ann Jarvis encouraged the Mothers’ Day Work Clubs to remain neutral and care for wounded soldiers on both the Confederate and Union sides of the conflict. At the end of the Civil War, Ann Jarvis and her club members held a "Mothers Friendship Day" in 1868 for the families of soldiers on both sides with a message for unity and reconciliation. Jarvis suggested the need for a day to memorialise and honour the work of mothers, and continued her social activism until her death on May 8th 1905.

Around the same time, an official Mother’s Day was first suggested in 1870 by pacifist and suffragette Julia Ward Howe, who also wrote the "Battle Hymn of the Republic." In response to the American Civil War, Howe’s “Mother's Day Proclamation” called on all Mothers around the world to rally for peace. She held the first Mother’s Day meeting in Boston and requested a "Mother's Day for Peace" be held every year on June 2nd. While her Boston Mother’s Day for Peace meetings continued for several years, her attempts to form a national movement failed. From 1870 until her death in 1910, Howe continued to rally for women’s education. Over the years, she was elected president of the New England Women's Club, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Women, and founded the US General Federation of Women's Clubs.

In 1906, on the first anniversary of Ann Jarvis’s death, her daughter, Anna Jervis, announced plans for a memorial service to remember and honour her mother’s work. The service was to be held at the Methodist church where her mother had taught Sunday School. Anna organised this first official Mother's Day on Sunday May 10th 1908. Anna sent a donation of 500 white carnations to those who attended her public Mother’s Day service. That same afternoon, she also organised a much larger Mother’s Day service in Philadelphia which was attended by 15,000 people. Anna continued to promote Mother’s Day ceremonies each year on the Sunday closest to her mother’s death (the second Sunday in May) and made it her mission to make Mother's Day an officially recognised holiday in the United States.

While the U.S. congress initially denied her requests, the state of West Virginia made the date a state holiday in 1910 and it was soon passed by U.S. federal law in 1914.

Why is May 14 Mothers Day 2023?

The date for Mother’s Day was chosen by Anna Jervis as the Sunday closest to the anniversary of her mother’s death. The date for Mother’s Day was officially set as the second Sunday in May when Woodrow Wilson declared Mother's Day to be a nationwide holiday in America in 1914. While both Howe and Jervis called for Mother’s Day to be a day of international peace and unity, Woodrow initially proclaimed it as a day for American citizens to raise the flag in honour of mothers whose sons had died in war. As the tradition spread around the world, the majority of other countries also adopted this date however the day came to honour all mothers and motherhood in general.

When did Mother’s Day start in Australia?

It took almost a decade for Mother’s Day to be popularly acknowledged in Australia. The very first announcement of church services for Mother’s Day in Australia was in 1910, but public observation by giving mothers a white flower gained popularity slowly over the following years. The Methodist newspaper proposed doing “something of special character for Mothers’ Day” with the preparation of suitable hymns. And the Salvation Army posted newspaper notices to announce that Mother’s Day was to be observed in every corps throughout the Territory on Sunday, 2nd May 1920.

An article appeared in the Hobart edition of ‘The World’ newspaper on Thursday 8 June 1920 titled 'Gifts and Gifting: Ways and Methods' which recognised that mothers were often neglected when it came to gift occasions, and Mother’s Day was proposed as the solution.

“Christmas in most families seems a time when, with “mother” as an excuse, the plate chest is added to or the linen press replenished and she is expected to find as much pleasure in the tray cloth or spoons – or may be the vase – as her son finds in his new brushes of her daughter in her brooch. This is a matter which on next Mother’s Day might well be discussed.”

The history of Mother’s Day Gifts in AustraliaHistory of Mothers Day in Australia

Mother’s Day was first celebrated with gift giving in Australia in 1924. Sydney woman Janet Heyden was inspired to collect charitable gifts for lonely, elderly mothers in hospital who had lost husbands and sons during WW1. She ran advertisements in the local Sydney newspapers calling on the public to remember the mothers of Sydney with a gift. People donated little gifts like soap, lollies, hairpins, and scarves which were left at The Feminist Club in Leichardt. Over 850 women were given a gift on Australia’s first Mother’s Day in Sydney.

After the success of her gift appeal for the first Mother's Day Australia, Janet Heyden extended her efforts and announced the second Sunday in June to be Father’s Day in 1924. Some 1300 men in Lidcombe Home received gifts of mittens, mufflers, handkerchiefs, pipes, tobacco, safety matches, scented soap, and sweets.

Janet continued to run Mother’s Day charity drives for seven years, by which time the tradition of honouring mothers and Mother’s Day in Australia was well established.

By 1927, newspaper advertisements for Mother’s Day in Australia commonly promoted buying a gift such as specially prepared boxes of sweetmeats for mother in a variety of flavourings accompanied by a chrysanthemum as a symbol of veneration.

What day is Mother’s Day Australia 2023?

Sunday, 14 May is the date of Mother's Day 2023 in Australia. Like many other countries in the world, Mother's Day in Australia is celebrated on the second Sunday of the month in May. Mother's Day is not an official public holiday in Australia; however it is a national holiday in many countries including Germany and the USA.

Why does Mother’s Day date change every year?

Because Mother’s Day is always the second Sunday in May, the date will change each year. To find out when is Mother’s Day in Australia this year just check the calendar for the second Sunday in May. The possible dates for Mother’s Day can occur anywhere between the 8th May and the 14th May. When is Mother’s Day in Australia 2023? Sunday May 14th. This means that this year we are celebrating Mother's Day on the earliest possible date. Interestingly, next year, Mother’s Day 2023 will be on May 14 which is the latest possible date.

Which date is International Mother Day?

While May is the most common date for Mother’s Day, there is no internationally established date for Mother’s Day worldwide. While Mother’s Day has been adopted by other countries and cultures around the world, the holiday is sometimes associated with different religious events, has a different cultural meaning, and might be celebrated on a different date. March is the second most common month for international Mother’s Days to align with the spring equinox and International Women’s Day.

What countries celebrate Mother’s Day?

Almost 100 countries around the world celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May including Australia, New Zealand, the United States of America, Singapore, Japan, Finland, Italy, Germany, and Brazil. Other countries celebrate Mothering Sunday on the Fourth Sunday in Lent (including the United Kingdom and Ireland). Mother’s Day is also celebrated in conjunction with International Women’s Day on the 8th March in a large number of countries including Russia and Bulgaria. South Korea celebrates a combined Parents Day on the 8th May every day.

What is the traditional Mother's Day flower?

The official flower of Mother’s Day is the carnation. Wearing a coloured carnation signifies that a person's mother is still living. Wearing a white carnation on Mother’s Day honors a mother who has passed away. Pink carnations symbolise Mother’s Day with the message of undying love and admiration. Red carnations symbolize deep love and motherly affection. Carnations are also traditionally sent as “I miss you” flowers in Australia making them relevant for a Mother’s Day spent apart. A mixed bunch of carnations are traditionally given as a Mother’s Day bouquet in Australia to honour grandmothers who have passed away along with the message that your mum is unforgettable.

What is the traditional Mother's Day flower in Australia?

Because it is autumn in Australia for Mother’s Day in May, and carnations are a spring flower, chrysanthemums are often the flower of choice for Mother’s Day in Australia. Commercial florists still supply carnations and they are a popular flower for Mother’s Day Australia. But because the beautiful chrysanthemums season begins in May, and there are many lovely varieties in bloom, they have become the preferred flower for Australian mums. These pretty flowers are also nicknamed “mums” by florists. Traditionally, chrysanthemums symbolise friendship and family support making them the appropriate Mother's Day flower in Australia.

Mothers Day in Australia

Mother’s Day traditions in Australia

  • A phone call to mum is the most common tradition for Mother’s Day in Australia and around the world. Mother’s Day is actually the busiest day in the calendar year for phone calls (even busier than Christmas) as everyone phones their mum and grandmother to wish them a happy Mother’s Day. Calls are not just made to long-distance mums. Even adult children who still live close by and plan to see their mother during the day will make a quick Mother’s Day phone call first thing in the morning.

  • Breakfast in bed is another one of the most popular Mother’s Day traditions in Australia. Even the littlest of kids will carry in a tray of toast and coffee for their mum to enjoy in bed.

  • A picnic in the park or at the beach is often enjoyed by families in Australia on Mother’s Day. Outdoor picnics are especially popular for extended families honouring a shared grandmother or great-grandmother on Mother’s Day.

  • Taking mum out for a meal on Mother’s Day is one of the most popular ways for Australian kids to treat their mum. Mother’s Day weekend in Australia is the busiest time of the year for restaurants and cafes (even busier than Valentine’s Day) as families dine out for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

  • The Mother’s Day Classic fun-run (or walk) is a popular community activity held in Australia every Mother’s Day. The event raises money for breast cancer research and is a popular thing to do for families to honour those touched by cancer.

  • For children in primary school in Australia, it is common for Mother’s Day poems to be written along with a handmade Mother’s Day card. Craft activities include making paper flowers and decorating cards. Some schools run a Mother’s Day gift stall where children can purchase little trinkets to take home to their mum or other mother figure.

What To Do On Mother’s Day In Australia?

Make a fuss of your mum and do something special to make sure she feels loved on Mother’s Day! This year, mums will want all those hugs and kisses that they missed out on last year! So get busy and make a plan to spoil your mum. Whatever you choose to do with your family on Mother’s Day, Gifts Australia is here with the best gift ideas for mum delivered Australia wide.

Mar 30, 2023

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