The not so silly question: why is Mother’s Day Changing this Year?

Mother's Day is moved to June 7 this year.

Make no mistake: this year, Mother’s Day will not be held on the last Sunday in May, but on Sunday 7th June 2020. Here’s why.

This year, in France, the date of Mother’s Day will take place … in June. While it traditionally takes place on the last Sunday in May, it is this time set for Sunday 7th June 2020.

The “fault”, in a way, at Pentecost. Indeed, if Pentecost falls on the last Sunday in May, as is the case in 2020, the date of Mother’s Day is postponed to the following Sunday.

A tribute to the mother of the gods

The origins of Mother’s Day are quite ancient. In fact, the first appearances of the celebration are present from ancient Greece: during the spring ceremonies, tributes were paid to Rhea (or Cybele), the mother of the gods and in particular that of Zeus.

Among the Romans, the “matrons” were celebrated on March 1st during the Matronalia (“matrons”), and Cybele during the Hilaria. All these celebrations take place in the spring, fertility month.

And in France?

It was in the twentieth century that we see the first Mother’s Day in France. If Mother’s Day was already practised in Anglo-Saxon countries, it was not until 1906 and thereafter, the First World War, that it became established in France.

In 1906, the village of Artas (Isère) organized a ceremony in honour of mothers from large families. The village also continues, even today, to claim the creation of Mother’s Day in France.

During the First World War, young members of American relief organizations for the occupied population (the CRB or Commission for relief in Belgium and France) or for wounded at the front (the American Red Cross) and the American soldiers of General John Pershing, spread Mother’s Day more widely, ending the establishment of Mother’s Day in France and in Europe.

Formalization and possible postponement

In Lyon, on June 16th, 1918, Colonel de La Croix-Laval instituted the first official “mothers day”.

This is to pay tribute to women who have lost a son or a husband in the trenches.

Mother’s Day even ended up being written into French law on May 24th, 1950! The President of the Republic Vincent Auriol fixes the date on the last Sunday in May, while specifying that the feast must be postponed to the first Sunday in June if the original date coincides with Pentecost.

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