It is a staple of the calendar. This Sunday, June 4, the French pay tribute to their mothers. A feast celebrated every year on the last Sunday of May, or on the first Sunday of June if Pentecost falls on the last Sunday of May, as is the case this year.
Mother's Day dates back to ancient Greece. Every spring, the Greeks worshipped the mother of Zeus, the goddess Rhea (or Cybele), the mother of the gods.
2/7 It all started in ancient times, when the Greeks celebrated their mother deity the goddess Rhea in special ceremonies. But it was at the beginning of the 20th century that Mother's Day as we know it today began to take shape. pic.twitter.com/8UrWK5psRp
— Thread Mania FR (@thread_mania) May 14, 2023
The tradition reappeared in the sixteenth century, in the United Kingdom and Ireland, where Christians celebrated "Mothering Day" first at the beginning of Lent and then on the fourth Sunday of Lent. It was a right granted to servants of large English families allowing them to have a day of rest to be reunited with their families.
Read alsoMother's Day: why does the date vary depending on the country?
In the United States, Anna Jarvis became famous for launching a campaign that created an official Mother's Day. After her mother's death, she floated the idea in 1907, created the International Mother's Day Association in 1912, and saw the government adopt it two years later.
Then-President Woodrow Wilson instituted Mother's Day on the second Sunday in May. It is, even today, its official date in many countries of the world. Anna Jarvis will quickly regret this celebration that has become commercial, far from its initial raison d'être: to thank the work of mothers.
Mother's Day in France
In France, it was on June 10, 1906 that mothers were honored for the first time, in the village of Artas (Isère), with the appearance of an annual day to give "awards of high maternal merit" to the most deserving mothers.
On June 16, 1918, Colonel de la Croix Laval established the first official "Mother's Day" in Lyon, to pay tribute to those who had lost a child during the Great War. This holiday was made official by the government in 1929.
In 1941, Marshal Pétain and his government included the festival on the political calendar to give it a new dimension and revive the birth rate in France. "Only you know how to give everyone that taste for work, that sense of discipline, modesty, respect that make healthy men and strong peoples. You are the inspirations of our Christian civilization," he said.
3) But the fact remains that it is Pétain and the Vichy regime (whose motto is Work, Family Fatherland) who include Mother's Day on the calendar, which gives it a more official character pic.twitter.com/x9AFhudgKO
— Mathilde Larrere (@LarrereMathilde) May 30, 2021
It is finally the law of May 24, 1950 which provides that "the French Republic officially pays tribute each year to French mothers during a day dedicated to the celebration of Mother's Day". The date is set for the last Sunday in May if Pentecost does not fall on the same day. In this case, it takes place on the first Sunday of June, as this year 2023.