The first occurrence of a day dedicated to the celebration of mothers can be traced to the ancient Greeks, who held a festival in honour of the goddess Cybele, the mother of all the Greek gods. It was observed around the Vernal Equinox, which typically falls in March, and later in Ancient Rome, on the Ides of March. The ancient Romans also celebrated Matronalia, dedicated to Juno, a day on which gifts were given to mothers.
In modern times the origin of Mother’s Day varies from country to country. In the UK, the tradition dates back to the 16th century. It is believed to be related to Mothering Sunday, a celebration which fell on the fourth Sunday of Lent, when young people, given a day off from servitude, were reunited with their mothers when attending church.
In America, Mother’s Day was thought up by Anna Jarvis, in memory of her mother, a pioneer in women’s charity work who founded the Mother’s Day Work Clubs, an organisation which helped soldiers during the Civil War. The holiday became officially recognised in the United States in 1914.
Back in Britain, the modern concept of Mother’s Day developed after World War II, when visiting American soldiers carried the American concept of 'Mother’s Day' overseas, though in Europe the day continued to be celebrated during Lent rather than in May as was done in the United States.