Celebrating Mother’s Day Around the World

How do you honour your mom? People around the world and from all different cultures and backgrounds celebrate their mothers each year with unique traditions, gifts, family meals and activities. A 2013 survey conducted by the National Retail Federation found that nearly 15 per cent of shoppers will spend an estimated $2.3 billion on electronics, and more than a third will give jewelry on Mother’s Day, spending a total of $4.2 billion. Here’s how different countries celebrate this momentous event:

Canada and the United States

Mother’s Day in North America is celebrated each year on the second Sunday in May. In this culture, mothers and grandmothers are recognized, as are the positive accomplishments these women have made in society. Many mothers are treated with breakfast in bed or a nice meal at a restaurant. Others receive traditional offerings such as jewelry and flowers, or Mothers Day gifts such as edible treats and household goods. Many gifts hold a special meaning, including birthstone jewelry to honour a mother’s birth month.


France reserves mom’s special day for the last Sunday of May or in early June, depending on the Pentecost. Known in France as Fete des Meres, Mother’s Day was originally declared a holiday by Napoleon. On this day, moms get to relax while their children respectfully cater to their needs and complete household chores. Gifts are generally given and sometimes children write short, original poems. Mother’s Day ends with a traditional family dinner and mom is honoured with a cake that resembles a bouquet of flowers.


In Spain, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the first Sunday in May. Spaniards pay tribute to their own mothers, in addition to the Virgin Mary. Mother’s Day in Spain, also known as “Dia de la Madre,” is observed as more of a religious holiday. In the weeks leading up to the special holiday, children spend hours a day preparing gifts and practicing for shows and recitals for their mothers, often in school with help from their teachers. Families generally spend the day together at home or by the coast, enjoying food and each other.


Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May in India, but the concept is very new. The grand event has only been celebrated for less than a decade but has had great success thus far. According to Scholastic, Hindus honour Druga, the goddess of mothers, during a 10-day festival each October known as Durga Puja. Durga Puja is a celebration of good over evil and is observed with delicious feasts and gifts given to family and friends. In the capital city of Delhi, Mother’s Day is highly touted. Many large companies launch female-oriented products and restaurants entice moms and families to enjoy special meals.


Depending on the Pentecost, Mother’s Day in Germany is celebrated on the second Sunday of May, or rescheduled for the first Sunday. Known as Muttertag by the Germans, the giving of Mother’s Day cards is highly popular on this day. During World War II, Mother’s Day had a strong political significance and women were acknowledged for producing children for the Vaterland (Fatherland). Mothers were also awarded with bronze, silver, or gold medals depending on how many children they had. Today, Mother’s Day is filled with gifts, flowers, and chocolates. Mothers are taken out to brunch or a dinner is cooked for them at home. White carnations are worn to honour moms who have died, while red carnations honour living mothers.

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