Mother’s Day Traditions Around the World
Although Mother’s Day is traditionally a western concept, the holiday has become incredibly popular worldwide.
Mothers everywhere are honored on certain days, sometimes even with grand festivals or parades.
We’ll explore the ways in which people in the U.S. and abroad honor their mothers and celebrate the occasion.
In the U.S., Mother’s Day is a time to shower your mom with gifts. Whether you’re looking to go all out or stay within your budget, there are many ways to celebrate Mother’s Day in the U.S.
Here are a few of our favorite Mother’s Day activities:
- Kick-off Mother’s Day morning by surprising her with her favorite breakfast foods. If she likes to start her day with coffee, include a gourmet coffee gift basket as an extra special touch.
- Enjoy the holiday by spending the day together. If you have a family of your own, chances are you don’t see your mom as often as you’d like.
- Make the day memorable by doing activities she’s always wanted to do.
- If you live far away, call your mom and invite her to a virtual brunch date. DIY some tasty mimosas, dress up for the occasion (or stay in pajamas), and chat the afternoon away while enjoying each other’s company.
- You can also send your mom a sweet greeting card with Mother’s Day quotes she loves.
Whatever you decide, your mom will appreciate all the effort you put into making Mother’s Day unforgettable.
United Kingdom: A Church Custom
Mothering Sunday” falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Back in the 1700s, the day was marked by young house servants returning home to spend time with their mothers.
That custom evolved from an earlier one in which families who had moved away would return to the original church they attended.
Today, the holiday remains grounded in religion, with many churches handing out daffodils for children to give to Mom. Traditionally, girls also bake a fruitcake for their mothers.
Bring it home: Ask your family to celebrate you on Mother’s Day by launching a new tradition based on one from your own childhood.
France: Medals For Mom
After the second World War, the government declared the last Sunday in May to be the Day of Mothers. The traditional gift is now a flower-shaped cake.
Bring it home: Awarding medals for bringing children into the world is obviously outdated, but expressing gratitude never goes out of style — especially when you’re demonstrating ways to express it to your children.
Share your thankfulness for each family member at dinner and ask them each to do the same.
Japan: The Right Flowers
You’ll see carnations presented around this March holiday, as they symbolize the sweetness and endurance of motherhood in Japanese culture.
Originally, children gave a red carnation to a living mother and displayed a white one if their mother had died. Now, white has become the traditional color.
Bring it home: Thank the moms in your community who help your family by writing notes of gratitude. Tie the notes to white carnations and leave the flowers on the moms’ doorsteps.
India: 10-Day Festival
The celebration is thought to date back to the sixteenth century and is considered both a religious ceremony and a time for family reunions. One story tells of Durga returning to her parents’ home to show off her own children.
Families spend weeks preparing food, gathering gifts, and decorating their homes for the festival.
Bring it home: Visit other moms you know, among both friends and family, and bring home-cooked goods to share.
In Ethiopia, Mother’s Day is celebrated a bit differently. Once the rainy season is over, families will gather for the Antrosht festival. During the span of three days, there will be dancing, singing, and lots of food.
It’s customary for daughters to supply vegetables and cheese, while sons bring the meat.
Mother’s Day in Thailand is observed on August 12 to commemorate the birthday of Queen Sirikit. Festivities for the holiday include parades and gifting jasmine to mothers.
When Russia was still known as the Soviet Union, mothers were honored on March 8, International Women’s Day. In 1998, Mother’s Day was officially established as the last Sunday of November. However, many people still celebrate in March.
In Nepal, Mother’s Day is known as Mata Tirtha Aunsi, which means “Mother Pilgrimage New Moon.”
On this day, individuals will cherish the time spent with their mothers and remember all those who have passed away.
Despite these differences, there is no right or wrong way to celebrate Mother’s Day. No matter where you’re from, people gather to celebrate their mothers and motherhood with much love and gratitude.
Interested in learning more about global Mother’s Day traditions? Check out our Mother’s Day Traditions Around the World post.
“10 Fun Facts about Mother’s Day | Sykes Holiday Cottages Blog.” Sykes Holiday Cottages, 28 Mar. 2019, www.sykescottages.co.uk/blog/ten-fun-facts-for-mothering-sunday/.
“40 Original Ideas for Mother’s Day Activities | ProFlowers.” ProFlowers Blog, 25 Mar. 2020, www.proflowers.com/blog/mothers-day-activities?.
“History of Mother’s Day: Origin of Mother’s Day Celebration | ProFlowers.” ProFlowers Blog, 7 Apr. 2021, www.proflowers.com/blog/history-of-mothers-day.
“History of Mother’s Day Traditions around the World.” ProFlowers Blog, 14 Apr. 2016, www.proflowers.com/blog/mothers-day-traditions/?.
“How to Celebrate Mothers Day | Tips for Mothers Day Celebration.” Ferns N Petals, www.fnp.com/article/how-is-mothers-day-celebrated. Accessed 24 Apr. 2022.
“Mother’s Day Traditions around the World.” Scholastic.com, 2019, www.scholastic.com/parents/family-life/parent-child/mothers-day-traditions-around-world.html#:~:text=Today%2C%20the%20holiday%20remains%20grounded.
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