Mother’s Day Around The World

The idea behind Mother’s Day is to pay tribute to mothers for their love and support and to make them feel special. In many countries, though not all, Mother’s Day is celebrated in the month of May. Those that do not include Indonesia where mother’s are honoured in December whilst in Costa Rica the day in praise of mothers is August.
Here are some facts about Mother’s Day and how it is celebrated in some countries.

United Kingdom

the worldIn the United Kingdom Mother’s Day, more properly entitled ‘Mothering Sunday’ was originally a Christian holy day to celebrate Mother Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. Keeping with the Christian tradition, Mothering Sunday is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent, which means the date changes each year, falling anywhere between March 8 and April 11.

United States

The United States celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May. A tradition initiated by Anna Jarvis who petitioned governments and churches from 1908-1914 to create a universal Mother’s Day across America to honour her mother and the mothers of sons killed in the Civil War. This came to pass in 1914 after World War I.
Mother’s Day rapidly became important as a day for companies to make profit in the United States. It is therefore ironic that from 1923 until her death in 1948, Anna Jarvis fought hard to stop the celebration because of the commercialism surrounding the day.


Japan began celebrating Mother’s Day, or ‘haha no hi’ in the 1950s, on the second Sunday in May. An art contest was held every four years, with young children entering pictures of their mothers. The winning drawings would tour across Japan and other countries as part of a celebratory exhibition.
Japanese mothers today can expect to receive home-made food and gifts of scarves or handbags and red carnation flowers.


On 10th May the ‘Dia de las Madres’ in Mexico is the date for mothers to be serenaded with the song ‘Las Mananitas’, which is also sung on birthdays and saint’s days. Mothers are given gifts to mark the occasion and the family gathers for a celebratory meal.


Mother’s Day only became popular in Thailand in the 1980s when the Prime Minister wanted to promote the royal family to the people of his country. The day chosen for Mother’s day, the 12th August, is the birthday of the Queen of Thailand, Queen Sirikit. Not surprisingly, Father’s Day is on the King’s birthday! Whilst many families have a private day, there are also public celebrations with a Queen’s speech broadcast nationwide.


Although mother’s have been honoured with a day of celebration since 1806, it was in 1920 that the 19th December was declared as ‘La Fete de Meres’, to celebrate mothers helping to repopulate France following World War I. Mother’s Day was only given a legal basis by the government in 1950, but not as an official national holiday.
Mother’s day in contemporary France is now the last Sunday in May, though it is moved to the first Sunday of June if it falls on the same day as Pentecost. Mothers are the guest of honour at a meal and are usually presented with a special cake that looks like a bouquet of flowers.

Albania, Russia, Romania and Bulgaria

International Women’s Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day, was launched as a Socialist political event in 1909. IWD is celebrated on 8th March every year and had over time became apolitical until the United Nations took on the date to promote and protect women’s issues. On this day in some ex-communist countries IWD is observed as an equivalent of Mother’s Day. It is customary for men to give all the women in their lives – friends, mothers, wives, girlfriends, daughters, colleagues, etc. – flowers and small gifts.


Mother’s Day in Bolivia is celebrated on 27th May, the date of the Battle of La Coronilla which took place in 1812. Women participated in this battle during the War of Independence and in 1927 ‘El Día de la Madre Boliviana’ was passed into law to honour mothers. It is not a public holiday, but all schools hold activities and festivities throughout the day.


Argentina is the only country to celebrate Mother’s Day in the month of October. Originally celebrated on 11 October to coincide with the celebration of the ‘Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary’ it was moved to the third Sunday of October to keep with tradition after the Second Vatican Council moved the Virgin Mary festivity to 1st January.

Other countries:

Other countries that celebrate Mother’s day on the second Sunday in May are: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, New Zealand, Singapore, Turkey
May 10th is Mother’s day in much of South America, Bahrain, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates
Antwerp and Costa Rica: Assumption day, August
Egypt: March 21
Indonesia: December 22
Lebanon: First day of Spring
Norway: The second Sunday in February
Poland: May 26
Sweden: Last Sunday in May


  1. Mother’s Day 2016: Everything you need to know about Mothering Sunday 2016” – Author: Emily Allen
  2. Mother’s Day in the United States” – Source:
  3. Mother’s Day in Mexico with a Spanish Song” – Source:
  4. About International Women’s Day (8 March)” – Source:
  5. Mother’s Day 2016: traditions, origins and ideas for gifts” – Source:

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