Jehovah's Witnesses Can't Celebrate Mother's Day.
When it comes to holidays such as Mother's Day, Jehovah's Witnesses consider the following:
- Does it have pagan origins?
- Is it a 'false' religious holiday?
- Is it a political holiday?
- What does the Bible say?
- Does the custom exalt humans?
Origins Of Mother's Day.
There is evidence that hundreds and thousands of years ago, some people celebrated Mother's Day differently than we do today. In the ancient world there is evidence of mother goddess worship as far back as 6000 BC. This continued in ancient Greece and Rome. Then there was the Christian festival of Mothering Sunday which honored the Virgin Mary and mother church.
The organization is very concerned about the origins of all holidays. We haven't been able to confirm any reputable sources, however there are rumors on the internet that Mother's Day came from mother worship in ancient Greece. Several websites quote the Encyclopædia Britannica, (1959), Vol. 15, p. 849 as a reference to support their claims.
JW's don't consider the modern day context in which Mother's Day, birthdays, and other holidays are celebrated.
Why Jehovah's Witnesses Can't Celebrate Mother's Day.
According to the publication Vindication*, Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate Mother's Day because setting aside a day to honor anyone but Jehovah would be a form of creature worship': "On the face of it the arrangement of "Mother's Day" seems harmless and calculated to do good. But the people are in ignorance of Satan's subtle hand in the matter, and that he is back of the movement, to turn the people away from God... Neither the man nor the woman should be worshiped for doing right, because such doing of right is their duty. Creature worship of any kind is wrong and an abomination in the sight of God." *[book 1, 1931, pp 158-60, written by Joseph Rutherford and published by Jehovah's Witnesses.
Ancestor Worship. Hero Worship. Idolatry.
Along with creature worship JW's believe it is wrong to exalt humans. An example would be idolizing a celebrity or treating them as more special than people who are not famous. Likewise they believe they don't have a clergy class like Christendom has. They are 'brothers and sisters'. In their religion they believe no one is exalted above anyone else. Critics say this is not true because they have a hierarchy of power that looks similar to the clergy of Christendom. This is referred to as theocratic government.
Critics say that organization's leaders are not just respected as teachers. They are feared because they hold the keys to Jesus. They get to decide who is worthy of eternal life . JW's are taught to obey  and be 'submissive' . Critics say this is 'creature worship', except on a much grander scale than taking your mom out to lunch once a year.
It is noteworthy that even though humans are not exalted, men are given more prominence and responsibility than women. See Equality,
Also the organization exalts the human religion of Jehovah's Witnesses above all other faiths and belief systems. WT, Dec 1, 1991, Article: 'Breaking Free From False Religion.'
Disagreeing with the organization is considered virtually the same as rebelling against God.
Notes and References.
1. RE: 'Creature Worship' within the organization. Respectfully listening to the advice of Elders if you ask for it, is expected in any religion. However Christians are not slaves of man. They may 'belong' to a religious sect, but they are free and answer only Jesus. He is their ONLY authority. Christian adults are not required to 'obey' church leaders. Matthew 28:18,19; JW's though, dedicate their life to God AND the organization, which means obeying their religious leaders instead of just respecting them is required. See Baptism. The Watchtower says this, 'And should we not strive to be obedient and submissive to those taking the lead in our local congregation?' WT, Nov 15, 2009, Article: 'Treasure Your Place in the Congregation', par 5.
1b. More 'creature worship'. Millions of JW's who are of the 'great crowd' with the 'earthly hope' do not eat the symbolic bread and wine that represents Christ. ( See Memorial Celebration ) Why? Because the Watchtower teaches that only 144,000 go to heaven and ONLY these 'anointed' ones are in a relationship with Jesus. The Watchtower says that everyone else can 'benefit' and receive eternal life, by affilating with the 144000, as represented by the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses. Thus the Governing Body has become the 'gate keeper' and 'channel of communication' for everyone who wants to be in relationship with Jesus. See 'Mediator'