Mother’s Day Around the World
Muotermother. Mater. Mētēr. Mātṛ. Madre. Mère. Mama. These are just a few of the many ways “mother” is said around the world. Mother’s Day is traditionally a day to celebrate moms, mother-figures, and true female mentors with thoughtful gifts and loving words of gratitude. This year in the United States, Mother’s Day will be celebrated on May 13th, a tradition celebrated every year on the 2nd Sunday of May.
The American celebration of Mother’s Day in its modern form stemmed from Anna Jarvis, a female activist who founded “Mother’s Day Word Clubs” to help teach local women how to properly care for children. She later organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day” to encourage reconciliation between former Union and Confederate soldiers. Just a few years later in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson announced Mother’s Day as an official holiday. Today, Americans celebrate their mothers and mother-figures with flowers, chocolate, candy, special gifts and meals shared with family members. Mothers are not just honored throughout the United States, but worldwide, as well. Here’s how Mother’s Day traditions are celebrated in 5 other countries:
Fête des Mères
In France, Mother’s Day celebrations mirror those of the United States, where revelers bestow cards and flowers upon their mother-figures and share family dinners. In 1950, a French law established the fourth Sunday in May as “la fête des mères.”
In China, Mother’s Day traditions coincide with filial piety, an ancient Chinese virtue that stresses the importance of respect towards parents and elders. More generally, people in China practice filial piety by being good to and taking care of one’s parents, while also practicing good conduct towards parents and strangers alike to honor their family and ancestors. The holiday is celebrated on the second Sunday of May, when festivities, including gift giving, occur.
Queen Sirikit, Thailand’s current queen and greatest mother-figure, is honored and celebrated in August, which is the month of her birthday. Many traditional Thai celebrations and festivities occur during this month to honor the Queen and all mothers in Thailand. Fun fact: the Thai go-to gift for mothers is a Jasmine plant.
While Ethiopia officially celebrates Mother’s Day on the same day as the United States, this country has another even more popular holiday celebrating motherhood, called Antrosht. This multi-day celebration occurs during the fall, when families gather to sing songs and host large feasts.
Día de la Madre
Mexican traditions take Mother’s Day very seriously. In 2012, Manuel Gutierrez, president of the National Association of Restaurateurs, declared Mother’s Day the busiest day of the year for Mexican restaurants. While flowers, food and celebrations are a must, the day also typically includes lots of music, singing, and Mariachi bands, who serenade mothers with the song “Las Mañanitas.”