Although mother’s have been celebrated throughout history in various ways, the modern idea of Mother’s Day is imported from the U.S. where it was first celebrated in 1908. Mother’s day in Sweden was championed by author Cecilia Bååth-Holmberg to be the last Sunday in May when there would be flowers and greenery nearly throughout the entire country.
Mother’s day had arrived in Norway by 1918 and it migrated to Sweden by 1920 when Bååth-Holmberg provided guidelines for celebrating the day. The most important element was that all children be with their mother. In addition, the burden of housework should be alleviated, the Swedish flag should be raised, songs sung, poetry read, and prayers for forgiveness be made because a child does not always do the right thing, but there is always the promise of improvement. And, of course, coffee and cake should be served to mom in bed.
“World’s Best Mom” bakery sign
The Swedish church played a significant role in spreading the tradition of mother’s day by organizing activities for mothers and children. By the 1930s celebration of mother’s day was wide-spread throughout the country. The classic gift is a personal letter to mom, especially if you can’t be with her on mother’s day. Of course it didn’t take much time for mother’s day to become a selling point for businesses and the promotion of gifts became a focal point, much to the chagrin of the early proponents of a day that was simply intended to bring mothers together with their children.