Mother's Day vs. Father's Day: What's the difference?

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Difference between Mother's Day and Father's Day

Mother's Day is a day to celebrate and honor mothers. Whether you are a mother or have a mother, this holiday is a cherished day by practically everyone around the world. When Mother's Day comes around each year, it is a time to tell your mother just how much you appreciate everything they do for you.

Father's Day is a day to celebrate and honor fathers. Much like Mother's Day, Father's Day is a holiday for honoring the role of fathers in the lives of their children. Father's Day is traditionally not as celebrated as Mother's Day. There is a major debate over the reason for this, but it could be that mothers are typically more nurturing and children feel softer towards their mothers.


History of Mother's Day and Father's Day

There are many schools of thought as to how the tradition of Mother's Day began. Some say it was the ancient Romans or the ancient Greeks. Others say it originated in European Christian churches. It could very well be true that various cultures had their own form of Mother's Day for as long as there have been mothers.

Father's Day became a tradition in the early 1900s to complement Mother's Day. The first organized observance of Father's Day was on July 5, 1908 in Fairmont, West Virginia. Mrs. Grace Golden Clayton put together the occasion to commemorate the lives of more than 200 fathers who had died in a mining accident earlier in the year.

International Days of Mother's Day and Father's Day

The official date for Mother's Day is varied across the globe. In the United Kingdom Mother's Day is celebrated on the fourth Sunday in Lent. In many Muslim countries, it is on March 21st. The second Sunday in May is the day of celebrating mothers in the United States and more than 70 other countries.

Father's Day is celebrated largely in June, and the third Sunday of the month is the most popular day. August 8th is Father's Day in China, and Germany celebrates on Ascension Day each May. Countries that use the Islamic calendar such as Iran and Pakistan honor their father's on 13 Rajab, which occurs in June.

The Over-commercialization of Mother's Day and Father's Day

While the holiday of Mother's Day began with altruistic intentions, marketing gurus of course turned the date into a way to sell products. Purchased flowers and greeting cards are rampant these days and for purists, this seems to make a mockery of the celebration. Mother's Day is a largely successful holiday in terms of commercialization as people worldwide spend money on gifts, flowers, cards, and taking mom out to dinner.

A group of New York City retailers grabbed Father's Day up in the 1930s as the holiday to promote. They hoped to turn the holiday commercial to generate sales. Even though the custom of buying gifts for Father's Day seems forced upon most people, they still do it, as it seems to be the expected thing to do.


Mother's Day and Father's Days are both holidays in which parents are celebrated and honored. Whether you spend the day pampering your mom or your dad or you simply send flowers or buy a tie, Mother's Day and Father's Day have longstanding traditions of gift giving. Some parents prefer to have a handmade gift or a gift of simply spending time together.

The reason for the singular possessive spelling of the dates was explained by the woman who created and trademarked the phrase as saying it was a date for each family to honor their own mother. Father's Day was spelled in the same fashion when it became an official holiday.


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