Now that we've given you a few tips for Mother's Day, let's get to the bottom of the question: Where did this tradition actually come from? As with many of our festivals and days of honor today, their origins can be found in ancient times. The original mother of the ancient Greeks was the goddess Rhea (Rhea means: river of life), daughter of Uranus and Gaea, and mother of all gods and goddesses. The mother cult that arose in her honor was celebrated as part of a great spring festival.
To this end, the Encyclopædia Britannica (1959, vol. 15, p. 849) states:
"A festival derived from the custom of mother worship in ancient Greece. A formal mother-cult, with ceremonies for Kybele or Rhea, the great mother of the gods, was practiced on the Ides of March throughout Asia Minor."
In 13th-century England, the Sunday of Laetare was celebrated as the Sunday of the Lord. By the mid-nineteenth century, Laetare Sunday was observed as "mothering sunday", when people gave thanks to Mother Church for her motherhood and, as a result, gave thanks to their birth mother.
As early as 1644, it was reported: "Every Mid-Lent Sunday is a great day at Worcester, when all the children and grantchildren meet at the head and chief of the family and have a feast. They call it Mothering Day."
The Sunday meant here (Lätare) was used by children living away from home to visit their parents (go a-mothering) and thank their mother with small gifts.
In Thuringia, Lätare (Mid-Fast Sunday) was a general visiting day with generous entertaining of relatives.
Similar traditions are known from Champagne and Wallonia.
Frankfurt's poet prince Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote quasi as a tribute to his mother:
"Vom Vater hab´ ich die Statur,
Of life's serious leading,
From mother's cheerfulness,
The delight to fable."
And an old folktale expresses mother-love as follows:
Live happily, live cheerfully,
live on in health,
live many years more!
Dear mother, live on!