In some cases, countries already had existing celebrations honoring motherhood, and their celebrations then adopted several external characteristics from the US holiday, such as giving carnations and other presents to one's mother. In some countries, it is potentially offensive to one's mother not to mark Mother's Day.
In others, it is a little-known festival celebrated mainly by immigrants, or covered by the media as a taste of foreign culture.
Jarvis believed that the companies had misinterpreted and exploited the idea of Mother's Day, and that the emphasis of the holiday was on sentiment, not profit.
As a result, she organized boycotts of Mother's Day, and threatened to issue lawsuits against the companies involved.
Jarvis protested at a candy makers' convention in Philadelphia in 1923, and at a meeting of American War Mothers in 1925.
By this time, carnations had become associated with Mother's Day, and the selling of carnations by the American War Mothers to raise money angered Jarvis, who was arrested for disturbing the peace.
It is not related to the many celebrations of mothers and motherhood that have occurred throughout the world over thousands of years, such as the Greek cult to Cybele, the Roman festival of Hilaria, or the Christian Mothering Sunday celebration (originally a commemoration of Mother Church, not motherhood).
The modern holiday of Mother's Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew's Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia.
For example, Bolivia's Mother's Day is the date of a battle in which women participated.
As adopted by other countries and cultures, the holiday has different meanings, is associated with different events (religious, historical or legendary), and is celebrated on different dates.
In some Catholic homes, families have a special shrine devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In many Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, a special prayer service is held in honor of the Theotokos Virgin Mary. According to some Islamic traditions, Heaven is said to be found under a mother's feet, meaning that one can attain admission into heaven after death if they are a caring and loving child to their mothers.
The holiday was originally celebrated on 11 October, the old liturgical date for the celebration of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary but after the Second Vatican Council, which moved the Virgin Mary festivity to 1 January, the Mother's Day started to be celebrated the third Sunday of October because of popular tradition.