Today is the fourth Sunday in Lent and so it is Mother’s Day or Mothering Sunday in Britain. I wasn’t aware of that, nor that in Germany and American Mother’s Day is on 8 May (and 29 May in France). I was surprised it was different from the USA, because my mother wouldn’t have it celebrated and said it was an American invention designed to increase sales of flowers and chocolates. It seems I was misled – the holiday was devised by an Appalachian ‘homemaker’ to improve health conditions in the home by addressing mothers.
It seems that Mothering Sunday may have been a day when British people were given a day off to go home to their mother churches. They would take presents for their mothers with them. It fell into disuse and was only really revised under American influence after WWII. About German Language reports:
During the First World War, Switzerland was one the first European countries to introduce Mother’s Day (in 1917). Germany’s first Muttertag observance took place in 1922, Austria’s in 1926 (or 1924, depending on the source). Muttertag was first declared an official German holiday in 1933 (the second Sunday in May) and took on a special significance as part of the Nazi motherhood cult under the Hitler regime. There was even a medaldas Mutterkreuzin bronze, silver, and gold (eight or more Kinder!), awarded to mothers who produced children for the Vaterland. … After World War II the German holiday became a more unofficial one that took on the cards-and-flowers elements of the U.S. Mother’s Day. In Germany, if Mother’s Day happens to fall on Pfingstsonntag (Pentecost), the holiday is moved to the first Sunday in May.
This doesn’t mention that in East Germany, Mother’s Day coincided with International Women’s Day on 8 March.