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The Mother's Day Finale: Fast Facts About Motherhood

Happy Mother's Day. Here's the final installment of our fast facts series regarding the special day.

After the US adopted Mother's Day in 1908, the custom began to spread throughout the world. Thanks, MothersDayCentral.com, for giving us a glimpse at how Mother's Day is celebrated around the world:

  • In Argentina, Mother's Day is in October, and mom is often honored with poetry.
  • In Sweden, Mother's Day comes at the end of May and the focus is on raising money to feed the poor.
  • France celebrated its first Mother's Day in 1918. In an attempt to encourage population growth after World War I, mothers of at least four children were awarded a medal, and eight or more got you a gold medal. Nowadays, a cake in the shape of a bouquet of flowers is more common.
  • In Yugoslavia, Mother's Day is part of a three-day cycle that begins with a Children's Day, Mother's Day the following Sunday and Father's Day a week later. On each day, the "honorees" are tied up and not let go until they make a promise—the kids must promise to behave, the moms have to give treats and candy, and the dads must provide more expensive gifts.
  • In Ethiopia, Mother's Day comes at the end of the rainy season and is a three-day celebration and feast. Moms and daughters rub butter on themselves and dance.

(Personally, I'd take a nice breakfast and a box of Godiva chocolates. Although tying the kids up until they promise to behave has its merits, too.)

Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother's Day in 1908, quickly became disgusted with the commercialization of the holiday, especially by the floral industry. She tried to stop a 1923 Mother's Day event and petitioned against a Mother's Day stamp that featured a vase of white carnations. (Thanks, MothersDayCentral.com)

IHere's  five fast facts about Mother's Day gifts, courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau:

  • How many flower shops are there in the US? In 2008, there were 18,509, with 89,741 employees to help you pick out that last-minute arrangement for Mom. (County Business Patterns: 2008)
  • Where do those flowers come from? California, most likely. Among 15 surveyed states, California accounted for 75 percent of domestic flower production (USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service)
  • How many people work for greeting card companies? 11,715 employees worked for 107 greeting-card publishers in 2008. (County Business Patterns)
  • How many cosmetics, beauty supplies and perfume stores are there in the US? 14,027 stores sold those Mother's Day favorites in 2008. (County Business Patterns: 2008)
  • How many jewelry stores are there in the US? 26,683 in 2008. (County Business Patterns: 2008) 

So don't fret, there's probably a store somewhere still open where you can pick up something nice for Mom!

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