Mother's Day Traditions Around the World

Celebrating our moms all year long is important, but one special holiday allows us to dedicate all our attention to our favorite mother figure, whether that's a biological mom, grandmother, pet mom, or anyone else who acts in a motherly way. Mother’s Day is celebrated far and wide across the globe, on different days and in different ways.

Nothing is closer to our hearts than family and family celebrations. We’re fascinated by the many different traditions, especially since we receive so many letters from our customers about how they celebrate with their Add-A-Pearl cultured pearl necklaces. Many of the customer stories on this page reference relationships between moms and daughters. The reasons for starting an Add-A-Pearl necklace are endless, inspiring, and always filled with love.

Even when you want to honor the mom in your life, you may still struggle with finding the best way to express your emotions and gratitude. Not sure how to celebrate mom this Mother’s Day? Explore these Mother’s Day traditions and celebrations from around the world for some inspiration.

History of Mother's Day in the United States

The origin of Mother’s Day in the U.S. dates back to 1905 when it started as a women’s movement to better the lives of other Americans. The creation of Mother’s Day as a national holiday can be attributed to a woman named Anna Jarvis. After the death of her mother, known as “Mother Jarvis", Anna sought out a way to honor her mother and all the work that she had done along with all mothers in general, living and deceased. Eventually, the second Sunday in May became a day to honor mothers everywhere.

As the day to honor mothers grew, it became more commercialized with the sending of cards and flowers. Sadly, Anna’s last years were spent trying to abolish the holiday that she helped establish. On the second Sunday in May, we continue to celebrate and honor all the hard work that mothers do to raise their children. Mother’s Day endures and has evolved over the years to encompass broader definitions of motherhood. It's so exciting to see how mothers are celebrated throughout the world today.

United Kingdom

While this holiday is commonly referred to as Mother’s Day in the United States, it is officially known as "Mothering Sunday" in the United Kingdom. Mothering Sunday is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent, which landed on March 14th this year. Before it became Mothering Sunday, this day was originally dedicated to religious festivities; Christians would visit the church where they were baptized, and it was a day for them to honor their “mother church”. In the 18th and 19th centuries, even servants of the rich would leave work to travel home to visit their mother church and their families. Children would collect flowers to bring to their mothers, and families would bake traditional cakes known as Simnel Cakes. Today, Mothering Sunday shares many of the same traditions as the U.S., and it's celebrated with flowers, cards, gifts, and family meals. (Source)

France

In France, Mother’s Day is reserved for the last Sunday in May, or occasionally the first Sunday of June, depending on Pentecost. Mother’s Day in France is referred to as La Fête de Mère. The origins of the French Mother’s Day celebration dates back to the 19th century when Napoleon established a day dedicated to mothers of large families. While Mother’s Day in France is more of an observance and not an official public holiday, it's still a day for mothers to relax and expect some pampering from their loved ones. The French still share some common gifts with mothers, including flowers, perfume, sweets, and jewelry.

India

In India, Mother's Day happens in October, during a 10-day festival known as Durga Puja or Durgotsava that honors the Hindu goddess Durga, the goddess of mothers. Thought to date back to the 16th century, Durga Puja is one of India's grandest festivals. Today, the festival is celebrated with traditions like song and dance, elaborate decorations, and grand ceremonies. In some parts of the country, young girls dress like Durga and partake in various rituals.

Peru

In Peru, Mother's Day is actually celebrated for an entire week because moms deserve it! Not only do families arrange dinners and lunches to honor their moms, but local communities also organize art displays, musical performances, and other celebrations for everyone to enjoy. According to travel blogger Soumya, "Peru is probably the most enthusiastic one about Mother’s Day celebrations"!

Brazil

Mother’s Day in Brazil is known as Dia das Mães and is considered one of the country's biggest holidays after Christmas. Celebrated on the second Sunday of May, Dia das Mães is a multi-generational celebration that honors all mother figures, including aunts and grandmothers. To many in Brazilian culture, mothers are typically recognized as their “first love,” and this admiration and love for mother figures is instilled from a very young age. Favorite activities to celebrate on this day typically include barbecues and picnics where revelers can enjoy the springtime weather, loads of food, and family fun. (Source)

Japan

Mother’s Day in Japan is celebrated on the second Sunday in May and is referred to as 母の日 (ha no hi). Although not culturally native to Japan, Mother’s Day has been welcomed into Japanese culture and society. Windows of businesses and department stores can be seen decorated with roses and carnations, which are common flowers used in Japan to celebrate Mother’s Day. Schoolchildren show appreciation by making presents and drawing portraits of their moms. Children also celebrate Mother’s Day by preparing meals for their moms; common Mother’s Day dishes include eggs, a symbolic food associated with the holiday. (Source)

Germany

Muttertag is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. It was first celebrated in 1922 as a means of awarding medals for mothers who produced children for the Vaterland, or Father’s land. After WWII, it became a celebration of gratitude to mothers by children. Today, children in Germany celebrate their mothers by gifting them with flowers or by preparing breakfast or dinner.

Australia

The tradition of giving gifts on Mother’s Day in Australia dates back to 1924, when Janet Heyden started a campaign to collect gifts for lonely mothers. Today, carnations and chrysanthemums are popular flowers used to celebrate Mother’s Day in Australia. Like in many other countries, Mother’s Day is typically celebrated in Australia by treating mothers to breakfast in bed, a nice meal out, or with other common gifts such as cards and chocolate. (Source)

Ethiopia

In this African country, the Antrosht festival is completely dedicated to moms. Observed at the end of the rainy season in early fall, it's a time for family members to gather for large meals and a festive celebration. Traditionally, daughters are expected to bring vegetables and cheese to the meal, while sons supply meat, which is made into a delicious meat hash. They also love drinking a sweet and celebratory beverage called Ethiopian Punch, which includes 7 Up, grape juice, pineapple juice, lemon juice, orange juice, maraschino cherry juice, and raspberry syrup. If you'd like to try making this drink for your mom as a fun treat, you can find the recipe here.

Middle East

In Middle Eastern countries like Bahrain and Iraq, Mother's Day is typically celebrated on the spring equinox or March 21st. Introduced in 1956 by journalist Mustafa Amin to his home country of Egypt, the concept of Mother's Day quickly spread throughout the region and honors all givers of life.

Costa Rica

El Día de la Madre is celebrated each year in Costa Rica on August 15th. This day coincides with the Catholic Feast of the Assumption, which remembers the Virgin Mary being assumed from Earth to join her son in heaven. El Día de la Madre is seen as a joyous event and one of the most important days of the year in Costa Rica. On this day, families come together for a meal to celebrate mothers and show appreciation by showering them with gifts like flowers and treats.

Given all the Mother’s Day gifts and traditions celebrated around the world, you may be wondering, "How does one find the perfect gift for mom or the motherly figure in your life?" One meaningful tradition you can start this Mother’s Day is the gift of an Add-A-Pearl cultured pearl necklace. We believe in pearls' elegant versatility, which makes them a perfect gift for mothers who typically have to juggle multiple responsibilities and roles in their daily lives.

Timeless and beautiful, pearls can be simple representations of even the most special of people and memories. Adding pearls to a new or growing collection is a tradition that lasts a lifetime, and yet it remains special with every new pearl.

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