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Mother's Day Around the World

Updated: Jun 10, 2020

Good Morning!!! Today we will be diving into the history and traditions of Mother's Day from around the world. This will be a long post as I will be including a lot of information. I haven't included photos in this post as I think that they are not going to add anything to the information. :)



What is Mother's Day?

Mother's Day is a celebration honoring the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds and the influence of mother's in society. It is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, most commonly in the months of March or May. It compliments similar celebrations honoring family member's such as Father's Day, Siblings Day and Grandparents Day.

The modern Mother's Day began in the United States, at the initiative of Anna Jarvis in the early 20th century. This is not directly related to the many traditional celebrations of mothers and motherhood that have existed throughout the world over thousands of years, such as the Greek cult to Cybele, Rhea the Great Mother of the Gods, the Roman festival of Hilaria or the Christian Mothering Sunday. However, in some countries Mother's Day is still synonymous with these older traditions.


When was it established?

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. St Andrew's Methodist Church now hold's the International Mother's Day Shrine. Her campaign to make Mother's Day a recognized holiday in the United States began in 1905, the year her mother died. Anna Jarvis wanted to honor her by continuing the work she started and to set aside a day to honor all mothers because she believed a mother is "the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world."

In 1908 the U.S. congress rejected a proposal to make Mother's Day an official holiday, joking that they would also have to proclaim a "Mother-in-law's Day". However, owing to the efforts of Anna Jarvis, by 1911 all U.S. states observed the holiday, with some of them officially recognizing Mother's Day as a local holiday (the first being West Virginia, Jarvis' home state in 1910). In 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother's Day, held on the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor Mother's.

Although Jarvis was successful in founding Mother's Day, she quickly became resentful of the commercialization of the holiday. By the early 1920s, Hallmark Cards and other companies started selling Mother's Day cards. Jarvis believed that the companies 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 argued that people should appreciate and honor their mothers through handwritten letters expressing their love and gratitude, instead of buying gifts and pre-made cards. 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 at this meeting.


Significance of the Dates

While the United Stated holiday was adopted by some other countries, existing celebrations, held on different dates, honoring motherhood have become described as "Mother's Day", such as Mothering Sunday in the United Kingdom, or in Greece, the Eastern Orthodox celebration of the presentation of Jesus Christ to the temple. Both the secular and religious Mother's Day are present in Greece. Mothering Sunday is often referred to as "Mother's Day" even though it is an unrelated celebration.

In some countries, the date adopted is one significant to the majority religion, such as Virgin Mary Day in Catholic countries. Other countries elected a date with historical significance. For example, Bolivia's Mother's Day is a fixed date, remembering of a battle in which women participated to defend their children. Some countries, such as Russia, celebrated International Women's Day instead of Mother's Day or simply celebrate both holiday's, which is the custom in Ukraine. Kyrgyzstan has recently introduced Mother's Day, but year on year International Women's Day is certainly increasing in status.


International History and Traditions

In most countries, Mother's day is an observance derived from the holiday as it evolved in the United States, promoted by companies who saw benefit in making it popular. 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 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. The extent of the celebrations varies greatly. 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.


In the Roman Catholic Church, the holiday is strongly associated with revering the Virgin Mary. 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.

In Islam there is no concept of Mother's Day, but the Quran teaches that children should give priority to loving their mother over their father.

In Hindu tradition, Mother's Day is called "Mata Tirtha Aunshi" or "Mother Pilgrimage fortnight", and is celebrated in countires with a Hindu population, especially in Nepal, where mothers are honored with special foods. The holiday is observed on the new moon day in the month of Baisakh. This celebration is based on Hindu religion and it pre-dates the creation of the US-inspired celebration by at least a few centuries.

In Buddhism, the festival of Ullambana is derived from the story of Maudgalyayana and his mother.


When Do Countries Celebrate (and how)?


In Albania, as well as numerous other Balkan and Eastern European countries, Mother's Day is celebrated on March 8th in conjunction with International Women's Day.

Arab World

Mother's Day in most Arab countries is celebrated on March 21st. It was introduced in Egypt by journalist Mustafa Amin and was first celebrated in 1956. The practice has since been copied by other Arab countries.


In Argentina, Mother's Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of October. The holiday was originally celebrated on October 11th, 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 January 1st. Mother's Day started to be celebrated the third Sunday of October because of popular tradition. Argentina is the only country in the world that celebrates Mother's Day on this date.


In Armenia, Mother's Day is celebrated on March 8th as well as on April 7th as Maternity and Beauty Day.


Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May.


Belarus celebrates Mother's Day on October 14th. Like other ex-Communist republics, Belarus used to celebrate only International Women's Day on March 8th. Mother's Day in Belarus was officially established by the Belarusian government, and it was celebrated for the first time in 1996. The celebration of the Virgin Mary (the holiday of Protection of the the Holy Mother of God) is celebrated on the same day.


Mother's Day in Bhutan is celebrated on May 8th. It was introduced by the Tourism Council of Bhutan.


In Belgium, Mother's Day (Moederdag or Moederkesdag in Dutch and Fête des Mères in French) is celebrated on the second Sunday of May. In the week before this holiday children make little presents at primary school, which they give to their mothers in the early morning of Mother's Day. There are also many people who celebrate Mother's Day on August 15th instead; these are mostly people around Antwerp, who consider that day (Assumption) the classical Mother's Day and the observance in May an invention for commercial reasons. It was originally established on the day as that day as the result of a campaign by Frans Van Kuyck, a painter and Alderman from Antwerp.


In Bolivia, Mother's Day is celebrated on May 27th. El Día de la Madre Boliviana was passed into law on November 8th 1927, during the presidency of Hernando Siles Reyes. The date commemorates the Battle of La Coronilla, which took place on May 27th 1812, during the Bolivian War of Independence, in what is now the city of Cochabamba. In this battle, women fighting for the country's independence were slaughtered by the Spanish Army. It is not a public holiday, but all schools hold activities and festivities throughout the day.


In Brazil, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May. The first Mother's Day in Brazil was promoted by Associação Cristã de Moços de Porto Alegre (Young Men's Christian Association of Porto Alegre) on May 12th 1918. In 1932, the President Getúlio Vargas made the second Sunday of May the official date for Mother's Day. In 1947, Archbishop Jamie de Barros Câmara, Cardinal-Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, decided that this holiday would also be included in the official calendar of the Catholic Church. Mother's Day is not an official holiday but it is widely observed and typically involves spending time with and giving gifts to one's mother. It is considered one of the celebrations most related to consumerism in the country, second only to Christmas Day as the most commercially lucrative holiday.


Mother's Day in Canada is celebrated on the second Sunday in May (it is not a public holiday or bank holiday), and typically involves small celebrations and gift-giving to one's mother, grandmother or other important female figures in one's family. Celebratory practices are very similar to those of other western nations.


Mother's Day is becoming more popular in China. Carnations are a very popular Mother's Day gift and the most sold flowers in relation to the day. In 1997 Mother's Day was set as the day to help poor mothers and to remind people of the poor mothers in rural areas such as China's western region. In the People's Daily, the Chinese government's official newspaper, an article explained that "despite originating in the United States, people in China accept the holiday without hesitation because it is in line with the country's traditional ethics - respect for the elderly and filial piety towards parents."

In recent years, the Communist Party member Li Hanqiu began to advocate for the official adoption of Mother's Day. He formed a non-governmental organization called Chinese Mothers' Festival Promotion Society, with the support of 100 Confucian scholars and lecturers of ethics. Li and the Society want to replace the Western-style gift of carnations with lilies, which in ancient times, were planted by Chinese mothers when children left home. Mother's Day remains an unofficial festival, except in a small number of cities.

Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May. It started in former Czechoslovakia in 1923. After World War II communists replaced Mother's Day with International Women's Day, celebrated on March 8th. The former Czechoslovakia celebrated Women's Day until the Velvet Revolution in 1989. After the split of the country in 1993, the Czech Republic started celebrating Mother's Day again.


Mother's Day in Egypt is celebrated on March 21st, the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere. It was introduced in Egypt by journalist Mustafa Amin in his book Smiling America (1943). The idea was overlooked at the time. Later Amin heard the story of a widowed mother who devoted her whole life to raising her son until he became a doctor. The son then married and left without showing any gratitude to his mother. Hearing this, Amin became motivated to promote "Mother's Day". The idea was first ridiculed by president Gamal Abdel Nasser but he eventually accepted it and Mother's Day was first celebrated on March 21st 1956. The practice has since been copied by other Arab countries.

When Mustafa Amin was arrested and imprisoned, there were attempts to change the name of the holiday from Mother's Day to Family Day as the government wished to prevent the occasion from reminding people of its founder. These attempts were unsuccessful and celebrations continued to be held on that day; classic songs celebrating mothers remain famous to this day.


Mother's Day is celebrated for three days in Ethiopia, after the end of rainy season. It comes in mid-fall where people enjoy a three-day feast called "Antrosht".

For the feast, ingredients will be brought by the children for a traditional has recipe. The ingredients are divided along genders, with girls bringing spices, vegetables, cheese and butter, while the boys bring a lamb or bull. The mother hands out the hash to the family.

A celebration takes place after the meal. The mothers and daughters anoint themselves using butter on their faces and chests. While honoring their family and heroes, men sing songs.


In Estonia, Mother's Day (emadepäev in Estonian) is celebrated on the second Sunday of May. It is recognized nationally, but is not a public holiday.


In Finland, Mother's Day (äitienpäivä in Finnish) is celebrated on the second Sunday of May. It is recognized nationally, and it is a public holiday. It is usually celebrated at homes where children or grandchildren bring Mother's Day cards that they have drawn to their mothers and grandmothers. Usually some food, coffee and cakes are served for guests. Grown up children visit their parents homes and bring traditionally Mother's Day roses or other flowers accompanied with a Mother's Day card. The president of Finland honors some mother's every year who have done something exceptional and positive during the year.


In France, amidst alarm at the low birth rate, there were attempts in 1896 and 1904 to create a national celebration honoring the mothers of large families. In 1906 ten mother who had nine children each were given an award recognizing "High Maternal Merit" (Haut mérite maternel"). American World War I soliders fighting in France popularized the US Mother's Day holiday created by Anna Jarvis. They sent so much mail back to their country for Mother's Day that the Union Franco-Américaine created a postal card for that purpose. In 1918, the town of Lyon wanted to celebrate a "journée des Mères", but instead decided to celebrate a "Journée Nationale des Mères de familles nombreuses". The holiday was more inspired by the anti-depopulation efforts than by the US holiday, with medals awarded ti the mothers of large families. The French government made the day offical in 1920 as a day for mothers of large families. Since then the French government awards the Médaille de la Famille française to mothers of large families.

In 1941, by initiative of Philippe Pétain, the wartime Vichy government used the celebration in support of their policy to encourage larger families, but all mothers were now honored, even mothers with smaller families. In 1950, after the war, the celebration was reinstated. The law of May 24th 1950 required (in Article 1) that the Republic pay official homage to French mothers. Article 2 stated it should be celebrated on the last Sunday in May as the "Fête de Mères" (except when Pentecost fell on that day, in which case it was moved to the first Sunday in June). Article 3 stated that all expenditure shall be covered from the budget of the Ministry of Public Health and Population. During the 1950's the celebration lost all its patriotic ideologies, and became heavily commercialized. In 1956, the celebration was given a budget and integrated into the new Code de l'action Sociale et des familles. In 2004 responsibility for the holiday was transferred to the Minister responsible for families.


Georgia celebrates Mother's Day on March 3rd. It was declared by the first president of Georgia Zviad Gamsakhurdia in order to replace International Women's Day, and it was officially approved by the Supreme Council in 1991. Nowadays Geoorgia celebrated both Mother's Day on March 3rd and International Women's Day on March 8th.


In the 1920s, Germany had the lowest birthrate in Europe, and the declining trend was continuing. This attributed to women's participation in the labor market. At the same time, influential groups in society (politicians of left and right, churchwomen, and feminists) believed that mothers should be honored but could not agree on how to do so. However, all groups strongly agreed on the promotion of the values of motherhood. In 1923, this resulted in the unanimous adoption of Muttertag, the Mother's Day holiday as imported from America and Norway. The head of the Association of German Florists cited "the inner conflict of our Volk and the loosening of the family" as his reason for introducing the holiday. He expected that the holiday would unite the divided country. In 1925, the Mother's Day Committee joined the task force for the recovery of the volk, and the holiday stopped depending on commercial interests and began emphasizing the need to increase the population in Germany by promoting motherhood.

The holiday was then seen as a means to encourage women to bear more children, which nationalists saw as a way to rejuvenate the nation. The holiday did not celebrate individual women, but an idealized standard of motherhood. The progressive forces resisted the implementation of the holiday because it was back by so many conservatives, and because they saw it as a way to eliminate the rights of working women. Die Frau, the newspaper of the Federation of German Women's Associations, refused to recognize the holiday. Many local authorities adopted their own interpretation of the holiday; it would be a day to support economically larger families or single-mother families. The guidelines for the subsidies had eugenics criteria, but there is no indication that social workers ever implemented them in practice, and subsides were given preferentially to families in economic need rather than families with more children or "healthier" children.

With the Nazi party in power during 1933-1945, the situation changed radically. The promotion of Mother's Day increased in many European countries, including the UK and France. From the position of the German Nazi government, the role of mothers was to give healthy children to the German nation. The Nazi party's intention was to create a pure "Aryan race" according to Nazi eugenics. Among other Mother's Day ideas, the government promoted the death of a mother's sons in battle as the highest embodiment of patriotic motherhood. The Nazis quickly declared Mother's Day an official holiday and put it under the control of the National Socialist People's Welfare Association and the National Socialist Women Organization. This created conflicts with other organizations that resented Nazi control of the holiday, including Catholic and Protestant churches and local women's organizations Local authorities resisted the guideline from the Nazi government and continued assigning resources to families who were in economic need, mush to the dismay of the Nazi officials.

In 1934, the government began issuing an award called Mother's Cross (Mutterkreuz), according to categories that depended on the number of children a mother had. The medal was awarded on Mother's Day and also on other holidays due to the large number of recipients. The Cross was an effort to encourage women to have more children, and recipients were required to have at least four.


In Hungary, Mother's Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of May. It was first celebrated in 1925 by the Hungarian Red Cross Youth.


The modern Mother's Day has been assimilated into Indian culture and is celebrated every year on the second Sunday of May. Indians do not celebrate the occasion as a religious event; it's celebration is mostly restricted to urban areas where the occasion has been largely commercialized.


Indonesian Mother's Day is celebrated nationally on December 22nd. The date was made an official holiday by President Sukarno under Presidential Decree No.316/1953, on the 25th anniversary of the 1928 Indonesian Women Congress. The day originally sought to celebrate the spirit of Indonesian women and to improve the condition of the nation. Today, the meaning of Mother's Day has changed, and it is celebrated by expressing love and gratitude to mothers. People present gifts to mothers (such as flowers) and hold surprise parties and competitions, which include cooking and kebaya wearing. People also allow mothers a day off from domestic chores.

The holiday is celebrated on the anniversary of the opening day of the first Indonesian Women Congress, which was held from December 22nd to 25th 1928. The Congress took place in a building called Dalem Jayadipuran, which now serves as the office of the Center of History and Traditional Values Preservation. The Congress was attended by 30 feminist organizations from 12 cities in Java and Sumatra. In Indonesia, feminist organizations have existed since 1912, inspired by Indonesian heroines of the 19th century. The Congress intended to improve women's rights in education and marriage.


In Iran, Mother's Day is celebrated on Jumada al-thani 20th. This is the sixth month in the Islamic calendar (a lunar calendar) and every year the holiday falls on a different day of the Georgian calendar. This is the birthday anniversary of Fatimah, Prophet Muhammad's only daughter according to Shia Islam. On this day, banners reading "Ya Fatemeah (O! Fatemeh)" are displayed. Mother's Day was originally observed on December 16th but the date was changed after the Iranian Revolution in 1979. The celebration is both Women's Day (replacing International Women's Day) and Mother's Day.

In 1960, the Institute for Women Protection adopted the western holiday and established it on Azar 25th (December 16th), the date the Institute was founded. The Institute's action had the support of Queen Farah Pahlavi, the wife of the last Shah of Persia, who promoted the construction of maternity clinics in remote parts of the country to commemorate the day. Pahlavi regime used the holiday to promote "gender ideologies" of the regime. The Shah's government honored and gave awards to women who represented the idealized view of the regime, including mothers who had many healthy children.

Republic of Ireland

In the Republic of Ireland, Mother's Day is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent, as in the United Kingdom, and has the same roots in Mothering Sunday. The practice died out in Ireland around the late 18th century but was revived around the 1950s due to Americanization.


The Jewsih population of Israel used to celebrate Mother's Day on Shevat 30 of the Jewish calendar, which falls between January 30th and March 1st. The celebration was set as the same date the Henrietta Szold died (February 13th 1945). Henrietta had no biological children, but her organization Youth Aliyah rescued many Jewish children from Nazi Germany and provided for them. She also championed children's rights. Szold is considered the "mother" of all those children, that is why her annual remembrance day was set as Mother's Day. The holiday has evolved over time, becoming a celebration of mutual love inside the family, called Family Day. This holiday is mainly celebrated in preschools with an activity to which parents are invited. Mother's Day is mainly celebrated by children at kindergartens. There are no longer mutual gifts among members of the family, and there is no longer any commercialization of the celebration. It is not an official holiday.


Mother's Day in Italy was celebrated for the first time on December 24th 1933 as the "Day of the mother and the child". It was instituted by the Opera nazionale maternità e infanzia in order to publicly reward the most prolific Italian women every year.

After World War II, Mother's Day was first celebrated on May 12th 1957 in Assisi, at the initiative of Reverend Otello Migliosi, the parish priest of the Tordibetto church. This celebration was so popular that in the following year Mother's Day was adopted throughout Italy. On December 18th 1958, a proposal was presented to the Italian Senate to make the holiday official.


In Japan, Mother's Day was initially commemorated during the Shōwa period as the birthday of Empress Kōjun on March 6th. This was established in 1931 when the Imperial Women's Union was organized. In 1937, the first meeting of "Praise Mothers" was help on May 8th, and in 1949 Japanese society adopted the second Sunday of May as the official date for Mother's Day in Japan. Today, people typically give their mothers gifts of flowers such as red carnations and roses. Japan is most known for giving carnations on Mother's Day.


In Kyrgyzstan, Mother's Day is celebrated on May 19th every year. The holiday was first celebrated in 2012. Mothers are also honored on International Women's Day.


Mother's Day in Latvia was celebrated for the first time in 1922. Since 1934, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May. After the end of the soviet occupation of Baltic states celebration was resumed in 1992. Mother's are also honored on International Women's Day.


Mother's Day in Lithuania was celebrated for the first time in 1928. It is celebrated on the first Sunday of May.


In Malawi, Mother's Day is a public holiday. The day is observed on October 15th or the following workday. It is celebrated on the UN's World Rural Women's Day.


In the Maldives, Mother's Day is celebrated on May 13th. The day is celebrated in different ways. Children give gifts and spend time with their mothers. Daughters give their mothers cards and handmade gifts and sons give their mothers gifts and flowers. Maldivians love to celebrate Mother's Day, and they have it specially written on their calendar.


The first mention of Mother's Day in Malta occurred during the Radio Children's Programmes run by Frans H. Said in May 1961. Within a few years, Mother's Day became one of the most popular dates in the Maltese calendar. In Malta, this day is commemorated on the second Sunday in May. Mothers are invariably given and invited for lunch, usually at a good quality restaurant.


In Mexico, the government of Álvaro Obregón imported the Mother's Day holiday from the US in 1922, and the newspaper Excélsior held a massive promotional campaign for the holiday that year. The conservative government tried to use the holiday to promote a more conservative role for mothers in families, but that perspective was criticized by the socialists as promoting an unrealistic image of a woman who was not good for mush other than breeding.

Today the "Día de las Madres" is an unofficial holiday in Mexico held each year on May 10th, the day on which it was first celebrated in Mexico. In Mexico, to show affection and appreciation to the mother, it is traditional to start the celebration with the famous song "Las Mañanitas", either a-cappella, with the help of a mariachi or contracted trio. Families usually gather to celebrate, trying to spend as much time as possible with mothers to honor them. They bring dishes and eat together or visit a restaurant.


In Nepal, there is a festival equivalent to Mother's Day, called Mata Tirtha Aunsi ("Mother Pilgrimage New Moon"), or Mata Tirtha Puja (" Mother Pilgrimage Worship"). It is celebrated according to the lunar calendar. It falls on the last day of the dark fortnight in the month of Baishakh which falls in April-May. The dark fortnight lasts for 15 days from the full moon to the new moon. This festival is observed to commemorate and honor mothers, and it is celebrated by giving gifts to mothers and remembering mothers who are no more.

To honor mothers who have died, it is tradition to go on a pilgrimage to the Mata Tirtha ponds located 6km to the southwest of downtown Kathmandu. The nearby Mata Tirtha village is named after these ponds. Previously, the tradition was observed primarily by the Newar community and other people living in the Kathmandu Valley. Now this festival is widely celebrated across the country.

Many tragic folklore legends have been created, suggesting different reasons why this pond became a pilgrimage site. The most popular version says that, in ancient times, the mother of a shepherd died, and he made offerings to a nearby pond. There he saw the face of his mother in the water, with her hand taking the offerings. Since then, many people visited the pond, hoping to see their deceased mother's face. Pilgrims believe that they will bring peace to their mothers' souls by visiting the sacred place. There are two ponds. The larger one is for ritual bathing. The smaller one is used to "look upon mother's face", and is fenced by iron bars to prevent people from bathing in it.

Mother's Day is known as Aama ko Mukh Herne Din in Nepali, which literally means "day to see mother's face".


In the Netherlands, Mother's Day was introduced as early as 1910 by the Dutch brand of the Salvation Army. The Royal Dutch Society for Horticulture and Botany, a group protecting the interest of Dutch florists, worked to promote the holiday; they hoped to emulate the commercial success achieved by American florists. They were imitating the campaign already underway by florists in Germany and Austria.

Florists launched a major promotional effort in 1925. In 1931 the second Sunday of May was adopted as the official celebration date. In the mid-30s the slogan Moederdag-Bloemendag (Mother's Day-Flower's Day) was coined, and the phrase was popular for many years.

Roman Catholic priests complained that the holiday interfered with the honoring of the Virgin Mary, the divine mother, which tool place during the whole month of May. In 1926 Mother's Day was celebrated on July 7th in order to address these complaints. Catholic organizations and priests tried to Christianize the holiday, but those attempts were rendered futile around the 1960s when the church lost influence and the holiday was completely secularized.

In later years, the initial resistance disappeared, and even leftist newspapers stopped their criticism and endorsed Mother's Day. In the 1980s, the American origin of the holiday was still not widely known, so feminist groups who opposed the perpetuation of gender roles sometimes claimed that Mother's Day was invented by Nazis and celebrated on the birthday of Klara Hitler, Hitler's mother.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. Mother's Day is not a public holiday. The New Zealand tradition is to give cards and gifts and to serve mothers breakfast in bed.


In Nicaragua, the Día de la Madre has been celebrated on May 30th since the early 1940s. The date was chosen by President Anastasio Somoza García because it was the birthday of Casimira Sacasa, his wife's mother.

North Korea

Mother's Day is celebrated on November 16th as a public holiday in North Korea. The date takes its significance from the First National Meeting of Mothers held in 1961, for which Kim Il-sung, the leader of the country, published a work called The Duty of Mothers in the Education of Children. The date was designated as Mother's Day in May 2012 by the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly but only became a public holiday and appeared on the North Korean calendar starting in 2015.


Mother's Day was celebrated on February 9th 1919 and was initially organized by religious institutions. Later it has become a family day, and the mother is often treated to breakfast in bed, flowers and cake. It has gradually became a major commercial event, with special pastries, flowers and other presents offered by retailers. Day-cares and primary schools often encourage children to make cards and other gifts.


In Pakistan, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May. Media channels celebrate with special shows. Individuals honor their mothers by giving gifts and commemorative articles. Individuals who have lost their mothers pray and pay their respects to their loved ones lost. Schools hold special programs in order to acknowledge the efforts of their mothers.


In Panama, Mother's Day is celebrated on December 8th, the same day as the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. This date was suggested in 1930 by the wife of Panama's President Florencio Harmodio Arosemena. December 8th was adopted as Mother's Day under Law 69, which was passed the same year. According to another account, in 1924 the Rotary Club of Panama asked that Mother's Day be celebrated on May 11th. Politician Aníbal D. Ríos changed the proposal so that the celebration would be held on December 8th. He then established Mother's Day as a national holiday on that date.


In Paraguay, Mother's Day is celebrated on May 15th, the same day as the Dia de la Patria, which celebrates the independence of Paraguay. This date was chosen to honor the role played by Juana María de Lara in the events of May 14th 1811 that led to Paraguay's independence. In 2008, the Paraguayan Minister of Culture, Bruno Barrios, lamented this coincidence because, in Paraguay, Mother's Day is much more popular than independence day and the independence celebration goes unnoticed. As a result, Barrios asked that the celebration be moved to the end of the month. A group of young people attempted to gather 20,000 signatures to ask the Parliament to move Mother's Day. In 2008, the Comisíon de festejos (Celebration Committee) of the city of Asunción asked that Mother's Day be moved to the second Sunday of May.


In the Philippines, Mother's Day is officially celebrated on the second Sunday of May, but it is not a public holiday. Although not a traditional Filipino holiday, the occasion owes its popularity to American Colonial Period influence. According to a 2008 article by the Philippine News Agency, in 1921 the Ilocos Norte Federation of Women's Clubs asked to declare the first Monday of December as Mother's Day "to honor these fabulous women who brought forth God's children to this world". In response, Governor-General Charles Yeater issued Circular No. 33 declaring the celebration. In 1937 President Manuel L. Quezon issued Presidential Proclamation No.213 changing the name of the occasion from "Mother's Day" to "Parent's Day" to address the complaints that there wasn't a "Father's Day". In 1980 President Ferdinand Marcos issued Presidential Proclamation No.2037 proclaiming the date as both Mother's Day and Father's Day. In 1988 President Corazon Aquino issued Presidential Proclamation No.266, changing Mother's Day to the second Sunday of May, and Father's Day to the third Sunday of June, discontinuing the traditional date.


In Portugal, the "Dia da Mãe" (Mother's Day") is an unofficial holiday held each year on the first Sunday of May (sometimes coinciding with Labour Day). The weeks leading up to this Sunday, school children spend a few hours a day to prepare a gift for their mothers, aided by their school teachers. In general, mothers receive gifts by their family members and this day is meant to be celebrated with the whole family. It used to be celebrated on December 8th, the same date of the Conception of the Virgin celebration.


In Romania, Mother's Day has been celebrated on the first Sunday of May since 2010. Law 319/2009 made both Mother's Day and Father's Day official holiday's in Romania. The measure was passed thanks to campaign efforts from the Alliance Fighting Discrimination Against Fathers (TATA). Previously, Mother's Day was celebrated on March 8th, as part of International Women's Day (a tradition dating back to when Romania was part of the Eastern bloc). Today, Mother's Day and International Women's Day are two separate holidays.


Traditionally Russia had celebrated International Women's Day and Mother's Day on March 8th, an inheritance from the Soviet Union, and a public holiday. Women's Day was first celebrated on the last Sunday in February in 1913 in Russia. In 1917, demonstrations marking International Women's Day in Saint Petersburg on the last Sunday in February (which fell on March 8th on the Georgian) initiated the February Revolution. Following the October Revolution later that year, the Bolshevik Alexandra Kollontai persuaded Vladimir Lenin to make it an official holiday in the Soviet Union, and it was established, but was a working day until 1965.

On May 9th 1965, by decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, International Women's Day was declared a non-working day in the Soviet Union "in commemoration of the outstanding merits of Soviet women in communistic construction, in the defense of their Fatherland during the Great Patriotic War, in their heroism and selflessness at the front and in the rear, and also marking the great contribution of women to strengthening friendship between people's, and the struggle for peace. But still, women's day must be celebrated as are other holidays."


In Samoa, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May, and as a recognized national holiday on Monday following.


In Singapore, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May. It is not recognized as a holiday by the government.


Czechoslovakia celebrated only Women's Day until the Velvet Revolution in 1989. After the country split in 1993, Slovakia started celebrating both Women's Day and Mother's Day. The politicization of Women's Day has affected the official status of Mother's Day. Center-right parties wanted Mother's Day to replace Women's Day, and social-democrats want to make Women's Day an official holiday. Currently both days are festive, but they are not "state holiday's". In the Slovak Republic, Mother's Day is celebrated every second Sunday in May.

South Africa

In South Africa, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May. It is not recognized as a holiday by the government. The tradition is to give cards and gifts and to serve mothers breakfast in bed or to go out to lunch together as a family.

South Sudan

In South Sudan, Mother's Day is celebrated on the first Monday in July. Children in South Sudan present mothers with gifts and flowers. The first Mother's Day was held in the country on July 2nd 2012.


In Spain, Mother's Day or Día de la Madre is celebrated on the first Sunday of May. The weeks leading up to this Sunday, school children spend a few hours a day to prepare a gift for their mothers, aided by their schoolteachers. In general, mothers receive gifts by their family members & this day is meant to be celebrated with the whole family. It is also said to be celebrated in May, as May is the month dedicated to the Virgin Mary (mother of Jesus) according to Catholicism. The ides of a month dedicated specifically to Mary can be traced back to baroque times. Although it wasn't always held during May, Mary Month included thirty daily spiritual exercises honoring Mary.

Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May.


In Sweden, Mother's Day was first celebrated in 1919, by initiative of the author Cecilia Bååth-Holmberg. It took several decades for the day to be widely recognized. Swedes born in the early 1900s typically sis not celebrate the day because of the common belief that the holiday was invented strictly for commercial purposes. This was in contrast to Father's Day, which has been widely celebrated in Sweden since the late 1970s. Mother's Day in Sweden is celebrated on the last Sunday in May. A later date was chosen to allow everyone to go outside and pick flowers.


In Switzerland, the "règle de Pentecôte" law allows Mother's Day to be celebrated a week late if the holiday falls on the same day as Pentecost. In 2008, merchants declined to move the date.


In Taiwan, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May, coinciding with the Buddha's birthday and the traditional ceremony of "washing the Buddha". In 1999 the Taiwanese government established the second Sunday of May as Buddha's birthday, so they would be celebrated in the same day. Since 2006, the Tzu Chi, the largest charity organization in Taiwan, celebrates the Tzu Chi Day, Mother's Day and Buddha's birthday all together, as part of a unified celebration and religious observance.


Mother's Day in Thailand is celebrated on the birthday of the Queen of Thailand, Queen Sirikit (August 12th). The holiday was first celebrated around the 1980s as part of the campaign by the Prince Minister of Thailand Prem Tinsulanonda to promote Thailand's Royal family.


Ukraine celebrates Mother's Day on the second Sunday of May. In Ukraine, Mother's Day officially became a holiday only in 1999 and it is celebrated since 2000. Since then Ukrainian society struggles to transition the main holiday that recognizes women from the International Women's Day, a holiday adopted under the Soviet Union that remained as a legacy in Ukraine after its collapse, to Mother's Day.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom celebrates Mothering Sunday, which falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent. This holiday has its roots in the church and was originally unrelated to the American holiday. Most historians believe that Mothering Sunday evolved from the 16th-century Christian practice of visiting one's mother church annually on Laetare Sunday. As a result of this tradition, most mothers were reunited with their children on this day when young apprentices and young women in service were released by their masters for that weekend. As a result of the influence of the American Mother's Day, Mothering Sunday transformed into the tradition of showing appreciation to one's mother. The holiday is still recognized in the original historical sense by many churches, with attention paid to Mary the mother of Jesus Christ and the concept of the Mother Church.

Mothering Sunday occurs 3 weeks prior to Easter Sunday or the fourth Sunday of Lent. Meaning it can fall at the earliest on March 1st and at the latest on April 4th.

United States

The United States celebrates Mother's Day on the second Sunday of May. In 1872 Julia Ward Howe called for women to join in support of disarmament and asked for June 2nd 1872, to be established as a "Mother's Day for Peace". Her 1870 "Appeal to womanhood throughout the world" is sometimes referred to as Mother's Day Proclamation. But Howe's day was not for honoring mothers but for organizing pacifist mothers against war. In the 1880s and 1890s there were several further attempts to establish an American "Mother's Day", but these did not succeed beyond the local level.

In the United States, Mother's Day remains one of the biggest days for sales of flowers greeting cards and the like; Mother's Day is also the biggest holiday for long distance telephone calls. Moreover, churchgoing is also popular on Mother's Day, yielding the highest church attendance after Christmas Eve and Easter. Many worshipers celebrate the day with carnations, colored if the mother is living and white is she is dead.


I know that was a crazy amount of information but I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about the History and Traditions of Mother's Day. I really enjoyed doing the research for this post and I learned a few things that I never knew about. :)


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