Schools Training

Mother’s Day Traditions from around the World

9 MAY 2014


Mother’s Day is celebrated in different ways around the world. Every year, as May approaches, sons and daughters plan on celebrating their mothers. But how did this holiday come to be?

The earliest history of a Mother’s Day celebration can be traced to the Greek’s celebration of a day in honour of the maternal goddesses. Rhea, wife of Cronus and the mother of many deities of Greek mythology, was honoured. Mother’s Day also has roots that can be traced back to the UK, where a celebration called “Mothering Sunday” was held. Children bought sweets and flowers in order to express love towards their own mothers. Even those who worked away from their families were encouraged to visit their mothers and honour them.

The celebration of the Mother’s Day as we know it today is a recent phenomenon, credited to two great woman named Julia Ward Howe and Anna Jervis, who made this holiday come into existence. After much lobbying, campaigns and awareness programs, including distribution of educational articles in school news, education news and elsewhere, the hard work paid off. On 8 May 1914, US President Woodrow Wilson signed a Joint Resolution designating the second Sunday in May as “Mother’s Day.”

Mother’s Day in France

Fête des Meres takes place in late May or early June, based upon Pentecost. Though it didn’t become an official day of celebration until 1950, it was originally declared a holiday by Napoleon. On this day, a family dinner is the norm. Traditionally the mother being honoured will be presented with a cake that looks like a bouquet of flowers.

Mother’s Day in India

The concept of celebrating Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May is still very new in India, but even in a time span of less than a decade, Mother’s Day has been a great success. Indians, too, take Mother’s Day as a time to reflect on the importance of mothers in their lives. In the capital city of Delhi, big companies launch various women-oriented products and restaurants try to lure people with attractive advertisements. Hindus in India celebrate the goddess Durga, or Divine Mother, during a 10-day festival called Durga Puja, in October. Durga Puja celebrates the triumph of good over evil and is earmarked by gifts given to friends and family, as well as feasts and celebrations.

Mother’s Day in Ethiopia

Mother’s Day is celebrated at the end of the fall rainy season, as part of the three-day Antrosht festival, dedicated to moms. When the weather clears up and the skies empty of rain, family members come home to celebrate with a large feast. Daughters traditionally bring vegetables, butter, spices and cheese, while the sons bring meat of various types, including lamb or bull. These will be included in a traditional hash recipe. Singing and dancing is shared by all family members.

Mother’s Day in Japan

Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May and is symbolized by beautiful carnations, which represent the gentle strength of mothers, who are revered in Japanese culture. Children draw pictures of their mothers in school and sometimes enter them in art contests.

Mother’s Day in Brazil

In Brazil, Mother’s Day is one of the most popular holidays celebrated, second only to Christmas. Brazil commemorates this special day on the second Sunday in May with special children’s performances and church gatherings, which often culminate in large, multi-generational barbecues.