Different Ways We Celebrate Mother’s Day Around the World
First of all, don’t panic. You’ve still got time to rush out and buy a card and a bunch of daffs. There are probably a few pubs still booking tables for Sunday lunch if you move quickly. And if distance isn’t on your side, you could always just pick up the phone and let the special lady know how much you love her this Sunday. Mother’s Day is actually the busiest day of the year for international phone calls, topping Christmas and New Year.
We thought we’d give some proper though to the origins of Mother’s Day this year, and we’ve picked out some of our favourite ways and reasons to celebrate the great mother ship below. Do you have a different way to celebrate Mother’s Day? Drop us a comment below!
USA – 2nd Sunday in May
American Mother’s Day always falls on the second Sunday in May, and leads the way as to when and how much of the Western world celebrates the great maternal figure. It all began when President Woodrow Wilson declared the day an official national holiday in 1914 after one Anna Jarvis of West Virginia launched a campaign to create a special day on the calendar that honoured mothers all over the States.
Jarvis then went on to lambast the national holiday when it took a rather swift commercial (and we daresay, predictable…) diversion from its simple, motherloving roots.
Ethiopia – 2nd Sunday in May
Mother’s Day in Ethiopia is a movable feast in more ways than one. The date it’s celebrated varies from year to year and depends on the end of the rainy season. Once the rain ends, what follows is a three-day family festival where adults and young families trek home to their own motherland for the feast of Antrosht.
But these poor mums don’t get a day off domestic duties here like they might do in much of Western Europe – they’re still responsible for cooking up the meals and serving the family.
Germany – 2nd Sunday in May
Like America, Muttertag also takes place on the second Sunday in May. Unlike America, the day was once used as a Nazi propaganda tool during World War II. German Muttis were awarded military-style medals on Mother’s Day, in gold, silver or bronze, depending on how many children they had produced for the Vaterland.
And if you’re wondering which lucky ladies were awarded the medal of the highest order, the gold Mutterkreuz, it was those with no less than eight children in their household. These days, Muttertag is celebrated in a more light-hearted fashion: flowers, cards, poems and other mum-pleasing treats.
Great Britain – 4th Sunday of Lent
Brits buck the general trend set by America, as our Mothering Sunday falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent. The Church of England deemed this particular Sunday a day for adults to make a pilgrimage back to their Mother Church in the 16th Century. And as a result, many a son and daughter released from work by their masters to visit said Mother Church would also end up reunited with their actual mothers on this day.
Churches still celebrate Mothering Sunday in the traditional sense, though in recent decades the day has taken a far more secular tack. The influence of America in general – as well as visiting American soldiers in World War II – has created a hybrid Mothering Sunday in the UK that merges old and new ideologies into one.
Supernanny would have a field day in Serbia. Mother’s Day over here is part of an unusual family fiesta that dominates the three Sundays before Christmas and involves several lengths of ribbon. Mother’s Day falls between Children’s Day and Father’s Day, and on this day children will creep into their mothers’ bedroom in the morning to tie her feet with ribbons so that she can’t get up out of bed.
An enforced lie-in. So far, so good. But dear Mama is then held hostage until she caves in and agrees to give her little darlings treats, sweeties and presents. Father’s Day follows a similar theme, and on Children’s Day the little ones are bound up until they agree to behave themselves. Which may be a while…
Brazil – 2nd Sunday in May
Unsurprisingly, Brazilians go all out on Mother’s Day – it’s the second biggest commercial celebration to Christmas here.
And in a country which places the family at the very centre of life, throws the biggest community bash in history every February (Carnaval) and celebrates children as gifts from God, it’s no wonder that Dia das Mães is a multi-generational fiesta of food, song and dance.
Indonesia – 22 December
The Indonesian version of Mother’s Day is Women’s Day, celebrated on December 22nd to mark the anniversary of the First Indonesian Women’s Congress in 1928. This milestone in women’s political history – now marked annually with this national holiday – is used as a key date for launching campaigns, events and rallies to further raise the profile of women in Indonesia.
During the 33-year reign of President Suharto, however, the day was repackaged as a means to subordinate women and to impress upon women the importance of childbearing above all else.
Mother's day dates around the world
|Full Moon Day in January||Myanmar|
|Second Sunday of February||Norway|
|March 8 (International Women's Day)||Afghanistan, Albania, Kosovo, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kazakhstan, Laos, Macedonia, Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Slovenia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Vietnam|
|Fourth Sunday in Lent||Ireland, United Kingdom, Nigeria|
|March 21||Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Lebanon, Mauritania, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen|
|First Sunday in May||Hungary, Lithuania, Mozambique, Portugal, Romania, Spain|
|8 May (Parent's Day)||South Korea|
|May 10||El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico|
|Second Sunday of May||Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Bonaire, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Cambodia, Chile, People's Republic of China, Colombia, Cuba, Curaçao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Ecuador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kurdistan, Latvia, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Singapore, Sint Maarten, Slovakia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United States, Uruguay, Vietnam, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe|
|Last Sunday of May (sometimes first Sunday of June if it's Pentecost)||Algeria, Dominican Republic, France (First Sunday of June if Pentecost occurs on this day), France French Antilles (First Sunday of June if Pentecost occurs on this day), Madagascar, Morocco, Haiti, Mauritius, Senegal, Sweden, Tunisia|
|Second Sunday of June||Luxembourg|
|Last Sunday of June||Kenya|
|August 15||Costa Rica, Antwerp|
|Second Monday of October||Malawi|
|Third Sunday of October||Argentina|
|Last Sunday of November||Russia|
|November 3||Timor Leste|