Why Do We Give Flowers on Mother’s Day?



May 10, 2019

Okay, let’s start with tradition.

Historically, for some reason, all forms of Mother’s Day celebrations (some of which are not as we know it) always landed on the season when flowers flourished everywhere.

The first known celebrations were done by the Ancient Greeks (surprise, surprise) to honour the divine mother goddess, Rhea, every spring. Celebrations would start at dawn with an abundance of flowers, wine, and honey cakes. This was followed by Roman celebrations to honour Cybele, the mother goddess, which were done in true Roman form, indulging in glorious feasts, one after the other. (Thank you, Ancient Greeks, for introducing the world to flowers and breakfast in bed and to the Romans for the big festive meals – Love, Mom)

Fast forward to AD and the celebrations turned towards a day of devotion to Mary, the Mother of Christ. This was celebrated, also in the spring, one day during the Lenten season, wherein people would bring flower offerings to church. Quite naturally, this turned into a day of celebration honouring ordinary mothers, those who work and toil and care for their families day-to-day.

Around the 1600s, in the UK, the holiday was finally named as Mothering Sunday. Hardworking folk were allowed to leave work to go home to visit their mothers and along the way, they would pick flowers from the fields and tie them together to give to their mums as a gift. Homecoming, cakes, and special meals marked the day as all mothers were happy to have the whole family together.

Cross over to the American continent and that is where Mother’s Day, as it is more popularly known today, was established. It started off in the late 1800s as Mother’s Friendship Day, an attempt to heal a nation that was torn by civil war. This movement then inspired the Mother’s Day for Peace as an appeal to womanhood to rise against the war. A strong campaign followed in the 1900s by the daughter of the woman who started Mother’s Friendship Day and a Presidential proclamation finally made it an official day in America. White flowers were distributed to the women as a symbol of love, honour, and peace.

This is, of course, a background to the western celebration which has been popularised the world over. If you were to read further, there are many more celebrations honouring goddesses, mother gods, and real moms in many different religions and cultures worldwide. And for some reason, flowers always play an important part, whether it is meant for decoration, to make the surroundings more festive, or to give as a symbolic gift.

All over the world, you will find many different reasons for giving flowers. They are tradition. It’s the season for flowers. They are a symbol of peace. They are fragrant. They are festive. They are gorgeous. They represent love. And you can’t deny, they just make the world a little more beautiful.

So give the mothers in your life some flowers. We all have one .. or two; a mother, a foster mom, a stepmother, a carer, a yaya, a grandmother, an auntie, an older sister… Flowers bring happiness. And it’s always fun to receive some – even if some don’t want to admit it.

Leave a Reply