Mother’s day in France and Australia
Most cultures have an official day celebrating mothers, how do Australian and French traditions differ?
In Australia, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the same date as in the United States, on the second Sunday of May. The tradition is said to stem from American Anna Jarvis, in 1958 Anna organised a Mother’s Day work club to improve sanitary conditions for mothers in order to reduce infant mortality rates. She intended the day to be a private acknowledgement of all that mothers do for the family and was very against its commercialisation, it is said that she even filed a lawsuit against its commercialisation! After sending white carnations to her mother she inspired the flower as the representation of the day. The celebration rose to prominence shortly after the foundation of the international Mother’s Day association in 1912, aimed at promoting the celebration to the rest of the world.
Mother’s Day became an official celebration in the United States and Australia in 1910, see its first mention in Australian newspapers here!
Today, Australians celebrate in many different ways. It is generally a whole family event including gift-giving and meals, brunches and lunches are particularly popular. Fundraising events for causes such as breast cancer are also frequent.
In France, Mother’s Day is celebrated at the end of May or early June, the celebration is moved depending on Pentecost. The French tradition started with a political campaign to increase population growth and emphasised mothers having mothered many children. It is said that it was first celebrated in Isère in 1906 and that the ceremony included merit awards for those having mothered the most children. in 1918, the city of Lyon created a Mother’s Day celebration to honour those having lost children during the war. Later, in 1943, the Vichy government released an official how-to guide to celebrating Mother’s Day intituled “Le petit Guide de la fête des mères“.
Mother’s Day was made an official celebration in 1950, these days it is most commonly celebrated by children giving handmade gifts during class.
Necklaces made of pasta, although less popular now, have become a symbol of Mother’s Day and filial love.