Events First Mother's Day Card

Published on March 20th, 2020 | by Sam Rose

The First Mother’s Day Card

Ever wondered how the tradition of Mother’s Day first started and when the first Mother’s Day card was sent? Join us as we take a look at the origins of this event in our latest Post Office Shop Blog article!

Are you ready for Mother’s Day taking place this Sunday 22nd of March?

It’s worth noting that among all of the sending of cards and purchasing of gifts, the origin of Mother’s Day might be quite different to what you may expect and the same can be said when it comes to the design of the first Mother’s Day card too!

With the recent announcement that the Royal Mail have launched their first specially designed postbox for Mother’s Day (featuring an elegant floral design), we thought it would be worth taking a look back at how the event originated and how the idea behind sending our mothers cards and gifts first came to light.

The Original Mother’s Day

One of the most surprising things to understand about the original intention of Mother’s Day was that it wasn’t held in order to celebrate and pay tribute to mothers directly.

Instead, the connotations were much different, as the ‘mother’ in Mothering Sunday actually referred to your home or ‘mother’ church.

It was in the 16th century that this traditional event was first established and became an important annual occasion for children.

Many of the children who had left their homes at a young age in order to work as domestic servants or as apprentices were given one day off during the middle of Lent in order to visit their ‘mother’ church.

However, whilst the origin of Mother’s Day was a day’s rest from work in order to go and worship at your local or ‘mother’ church, the event also provided the opportunity for families to gather for what at the time would be considered to be rare reunions.

Due to the amount of time they spent away from their mothers and fathers, children would take the opportunity of the brief reprieve from work to bring their mothers gifts such as flowers or, due to Lent fasting rules being relaxed for the day, home-baked treats like Simnel cakes (a type of fruit cake topped with marzipan).

It would be centuries after this that the evolution of this holiday picked up further pace in both the US and in the UK and get us to the current mindset of associating Mother’s Day with the gifting of flowers, chocolates and other heartfelt presents to show our love and appreciation.

The First Mother’s Day Card

Image courtesy of The Postal Museum

Another of the aspects associated with Mother’s Day is sending Mother’s Day cards.

It’s widely believed that the very first Mother’s Day card was sent during the early 1800’s but unfortunately, this has proven difficult to accurately trace.

However, there are other examples of cards which can be considered to be some of the first Mother’s Day cards such as one that dates back to 1860 and is currently held at The Postal Museum.

Gilt-embossed and decorated with an array of fabric and floral pieces, the verse from this card is the very same which is feature on the Royal Mail’s special postbox to mark Mother’s Day and reads:

“Dearest one, who gave me birth,
And sweetest love doth always show,
Bright by thy pathway upon earth,
A stranger here to woe.
May every day roseate hue,
Yield all of its stores of sweets for you”

And the first Mother’s Day card available commercially?

Well that was said to have been created and printed by Hallmark in 1920.

Lacking in vibrant or bright colours, the focus of this design was instead to approach the subject in a more formal and delicate manner, whilst at the same time, being presented to a mother in order to show a son or daughter’s gratitude, appreciation and of course, love.

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