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Demystifying the Tradition of Flowers on Mother’s Day

March 8, 2014

Why do we give flowers to our mothers on this special occasion anyway?

Across the globe, Mother’s Day takes place on various dates and is celebrated through different methods. An early documentation of celebrating this occasion is known as Matronalia, an ancient Roman commemoration of the Goddess, Juno (the goddess of giving birth). This holiday observed the concept of childbirth and motherhood.

During this time we usually stop what we are doing and take some time off to thank our mothers during this momentous occasion. Many show their gratitude via a simple phone call, through a meal, or even giving her a bouquet of flowers. The question is: why have people, over time, always chose to give their loved ones flowers on Mother’s Day?

The Mother’s Day celebration we know of today was conceptualized by Anna Jarvis in 1912. She initiated the day to honor her mother, Ann Jarvis, who died an untimely death. Together with Julia Ward Howe (an social activist), the two ladies toiled for more than 4 decades on curating a special day to honor such women. During her campaigning, Jarvis would regularly distribute white carnations, starting the tradition of giving flowers on Mother’s Day. White carnations represent how pure the love of a mother has for her children.

Children in China also give their mothers white carnations, although the traditionalists are supporting the campaign for changing this flower to lilies since history has dictated that Chinese mothers have been planting them at the event that their offspring leaves the family home.


Around the world, flowers (regardless of their type and genus) are constantly being linked to motherhood. Simon Richards, a product developer from Marks & Spencer, stated that “Mother’s Day is actually the busiest time for rose sales.” He created his version of the “Mother’s Day Bouquet”, a variant that has cream roses, blue hydrangea, and hyperican berries in them with epitomises everything in which Mother’s Day should symbolize.

The bottom line is that it is up to you how you honor your mother, especially since you now know how this special day came to be. Remember the old adage, that it’s the thought that counts.

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One Comment
  1. What could be a good alternative for flowers?

    Like

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