Nearly every culture celebrates Mother’s Day in one way or another. These celebrations of motherhood have been around for centuries. Mothers go through much pain and suffering to bring each of us into the world, and it is for this reason that mothers are recognized for all they’ve done.
Worldwide celebrations to honor mothers are often built around family gatherings, traditional gifts and ceremonies. Many of the traditions have their roots in the past but all stem from a deep desire to honor mothers, whether they are still living or have passed away.
Many people may think that Mother’s Day is a uniquely American holiday. However, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, even though Americans may not know about how other cultures celebrate or honor motherhood, the custom has been around for thousands of years. Below are some of the ways Mother’s Day is celebrated around the world.
Mother’s Day in the United States
Mother’s Day in the United States is celebrated the second Sunday in May.
Many consider Anna Jarvis to be the mother of the modern day recognition of mothers but it was actually her mother, Ann Jarvis, who established a ‘Mother’s Friendship Day’ in 1868 as a means to reunite families torn apart by the Civil War.
After her mother’s death in 1905, Anna Jarvis took up the fight to create a national holiday honoring mothers. She petitioned her local church, Andrews’ Methodist Church, to have a day honoring all mothers and as a way to remember her own mother.
The request was fulfilled on May 10, 1908. Carnations were given to each person who attended the church service that day. Mothers were given two carnations. The white carnation was a favorite of Anna Jarvis’ own mother Ann. It may be from this first celebration that lead to Mother’s Day being one of the most popular holidays for giving flowers.
During the same year, United States Senator Elmer Burkett from Nebraska proposed to make Mother’s Day a national holiday. He had made the proposal on behalf of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). The defeat motivated Anna Jarvis to quit her job and devote her time to petitioning governments to create a Mother’s Day.
She received the backing of the World’s Sunday School Association, and West Virginia became the first state to recognize Mother’s Day in the United States in the year 1912. President Woodrow Wilson then signed a law declaring the second Sunday in May as national observance of Mother’s Day.
Mother’s Day in Great Britain
Mother’s Day in Great Britain is celebrated the fourth Sunday of Lent.
Festivals honoring mothers in England seem to have Christian roots. Mothering Sunday was a time to celebrate all mothers in honor of the Virgin Mary. On this day servants who lived far from home were given the day off in order to visit their own mothers.
‘Mothering cake’ was often baked and included in the festivities in homes all across England.
Some experts believe that the day was chosen because it corresponded with the secular ceremony that honored the Roman mother goddess, Cybele. Because the holiday falls during the Lenten season, it has been referred to as Refreshment Sunday. Fasting rules for Lent were relaxed on that day.
Mother’s Day in the Rest of the World
Mother’s Day in Mexico is always celebrated on May 10th.
This time to honor mothers began with an editorial in a Mexico City newspaper and was combined with an additional media campaign (and the support of the Catholic Church) to really take hold.
The first official celebration took place on May 10, 1922. It was an attempt to refocus the importance of women in the role of child bearer. Since the holiday is celebrated on a specific date it often falls during the week. On these days, mothers can take off of work and children stay home from school so they can spend the day together.
Mother’s Day in Spain and Portugal is celebrated on December 8th.
Not only is December 8th the day Mother’s Day is celebrated, it is also the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. This feast honors the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, as well as all other mothers.
Other countries around the world celebrate Mother’s Day on different dates:
* Norwegians celebrate Mother’s Day on February 13.
* Georgians honor their mothers on March 3.
* Several countries have March 8 as their Mother’s Day. Those countries include Afghanistan, Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Laos, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia and the Ukraine.
* Ireland and Nigeria both honor their mothers on March 14.
* Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Palestinian Territories, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Yemen all celebrate motherhood on March 21 (first day of spring).
* Slovenia spends March 25 celebrating mothers of that country.
* The first Sunday in May is the date for Hungary and Lithuania to honor mothers.
* Albania and South Korea recognize mothers on May 8.
* Poland celebrates motherhood on May 26 and Bolivia celebrates the day after.
* The last Sunday in May is celebrated in Algeria, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mauritius, Morocco, Sweden, Tunisia and France. (For France it is the last Sunday in May except if it coincides with Pentecost day which is the 50th day after Lent, in which case it is shifted to the first Sunday in June.)
* May 30 is the day Nicaraguans celebrate mothers.
* The second Sunday in June is the day to celebrate motherhood in Luxembourg.
* Kenyans honor mothers on the last Sunday in June.
* In Thailand they use Queen Sirikit Kitiyakara’s birthday, August 12, as the day to honor mothers.
* August 15 is the date chosen to celebrate in Costa Rica and Antwerp, Belgium.
* Three countries celebrate Mother’s Day in October: Malawi celebrates the second Monday, Belarus chooses October 14 and the third Sunday is the day to honor mothers in Argentina.
* December 8 is Mother’s Day in Panama and December 22 is the holiday in Indonesia.
Mother’s Day Trivia
Now that you know something about the history of Mother’s Day and when it is celebrated around the world, you might be interested in some other Mother’s Day trivia. Take a look at the following information and see if there’s anything you didn’t know about the holiday.
* Most people think that teenagers are too young to have babies. The youngest mother on record, Lina Medina, was 5 years and 7 months old when she had a baby boy in Lima, Peru in 1939. On the opposite end of the extremes, Satyabhama Mahapatra was 65 years old when she also delivered a baby boy. She and her husband had been married for 50 years when they had their first child with the help of artificial insemination.
* Elizabeth Ann Buttle holds the record for giving birth to children born the longest time apart. Buttle’s first child was born in 1956 and her next child was born in 1971, over 41 years apart. She was 60 years old when the second child was born.
* The woman to hold the highest number of children record was the wife of Feodor Vassilyev of Russia. She had a total of 69 children between 1725 and 1765 and was pregnant 27 times. She gave birth to 16 pairs of twins, 7 sets of triplets and 4 sets of quadruplets. Only two failed to survive infancy.
* The average age of women giving birth for the first time is 24.8 years old. There is a 1 in 33 chance that a woman will deliver twins and 1 in 539 chance that she’ll have triplets or multiples.
* Most children are born in the month of August and most babies are born on Tuesdays.
* Gold Star Mother’s Day is celebrated in September to honor mothers who have lost a child during active duty. The holiday has been celebrated since 1936 on the last Sunday in September but most people aren’t aware of it.
* Another holiday for mothers is celebrated on May 1. This is the day stepmoms are honored.
* In the animal world, a female elephant remains pregnant for 22 months before the birth of her baby. Human babies have a gestation period between 37 and 42 weeks.
* A female oyster can produce over 100 million young over her lifetime.
* Giraffes most often give birth while standing up. This means the newborn falls up to six feet to the ground as they are being born.
Perfect Gifts for Celebrating Mother’s Day
Mother’s Day is the perfect time to lavish Mom with gifts. And the only limit to gifts for Mom is the imagination of the giver. This is one of those times where it really is the thought that counts. Mothers appreciate being appreciated – no matter if it comes in the form of a day at the spa or a hand-crafted card reminding Mom that she is loved.
Below are some ideas of things any Mom would love to get on Mother’s Day.
The gift doesn’t have to cost a great deal of money. In fact, most moms appreciate handmade gifts made with thought and love as much as something you could buy from a store. Consider giving Mom one of these gifts this year.
* Service coupons – Make up a stack of coupons that will give mother something special on her day. Include one for making her bed, fixing a meal or taking her on a day out with the family. Be sure the coupons focus on things that Mom likes and enjoys.
A foot massage after a long day at work would also be good to include in the coupons.
* Video montage or scrapbook – Put together a review of the past year in pictures or on video. Let each person in the family add their own personal notes or video to complete the project. If you choose to do this each year, Mom will also have a record of how each child has changed over the years.
* Day off – Officially give Mom the day away from all of her responsibilities. It may mean sending her on a mini-vacation or it may just mean taking over the daily grind for one day of the year. Moms do so much throughout the year it will feel like heaven to have one day where she’s not expected to do anything.
* Show it in words – Write a special poem that includes a list of everything you appreciate about all she does. For the rhyming challenged, write a letter telling her “thank you.” As long as the sentiments are real she will love the gift.
* Show it in pictures – Craft a unique painting for Mom’s special day. Take it to the next level by having it specially framed for Mom. Be sure the artist signs the creation.
* Find it in nature – Store-bought flowers may be beautiful, but nothing says special like hand-picked flowers from the garden.
* Create a bouquet that can be wrapped in tissue paper, or put together an arrangement in a special vase. Be sure to ask permission if you want to pick flowers from a garden or yard that does not belong to you.
* Craft a card – All it takes is a folded piece of paper and some imagination. Add some glitter for a little glitz or stickers for some special designs. Pull out the glue and craft supplies and let the kids go wild. (As a side note: small children should never be left alone with glue or you never know what will be glued to what when you return.)
* Go on a shopping trip – If you know what Mom wants and likes, then consider getting it for her. It might be even better to let Mom do the shopping if that is an activity that she enjoys. Give her a gift card and then make the outing a special event just for her.
* Make spa-inspired gifts to give Mom on Mother’s Day – Bath salts are easy to make using Epsom salt, non-staining coloring and essential oils. You can also make glycerin soap easily by using a mold in various shapes and the microwave. Use a few drops of essential oils in Mom’s favorite fragrances to make soap she’ll love to use as she’s soaking in a bubble bath.
* Speaking of bubble baths, get a beautiful basket and fill it with items Mom can use while treating herself to a spa day in her own bathroom. Find packages of candles which can be placed around the bathtub. Bubble bath and other bath items can also be added.
* What about making a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign for her to place on the doorknob so she can soak as long as she likes? Make a CD of her favorite music or classical music which will make relaxing that much easier. Depending upon the size of the basket, you might want to add a luxurious robe, house slippers and a new, thick towel. Think of other things she might enjoy and add those to the basket.
Ways to Make Mother’s Day Special
* What mother wouldn’t love a day to relax? Tell her the night before that she is going to be treated like a queen on Mother’s Day. How do you accomplish this? Start by letting her sleep in. When she finally awakens, treat her to breakfast in bed or a homemade brunch. Let her choose where to eat lunch or dinner.
* To cap the day off, let Mom have control of the remote and watch anything on TV she wants.
If you think Mom will have a difficult time relaxing and letting others wait on her for the day, getting away from the home may be the only way to keep mom from cleaning up. Planning a day trip can be the perfect way to make the day special for that special mom.
* Plan a day away from home. Take her out for breakfast to her favorite restaurant or find someplace new to try. Look through the newspaper and see if there are any restaurants offering Mother’s Day specials. For lunch, plan a picnic in the park followed by an afternoon of shopping. Dad or sons may not enjoy shopping but maybe they’ll be willing to suffer for Mom for one day.
* Picnics are a great way to make Mom feel special on Mother’s Day. Make all the food ahead of time so there’s nothing to do but pack it into the picnic basket and go. Be sure to include all of Mom’s favorite foods. You can probably find a wonderful spot in a local park to lay out the blanket. Along the shore of the lake or a beach would also be good choices.
Of course, if the weather doesn’t cooperate you can always have the picnic indoors on the living room floor.
* Does Mom enjoy a glass of wine on occasion? A visit to a local winery for a wine tasting might be a good Mother’s Day gift to make Mom feel special. Arrange an entire day where she can visit one or more wineries (if they are available) and then take her out for a relaxed dinner.
Think of things which interest Mom. Does she love rock climbing? Find someplace that offers rock climbing classes. Would she prefer a quiet walk outdoors with a pair of binoculars around her neck? Find a lagoon or forest where birds are plenty and let her enjoy her day in nature.
Determine what it is that Mom enjoys or is most interested in learning and you’ve found the perfect activities to share with her to make her day something she’ll remember and make her feel special at the same time.
Mother’s Day Quotes
Perhaps you’re looking for the perfect words to add to a card or include in a family scrapbook to be given to Mom on Mother’s Day. Let these words of inspiration help you create personalized gifts or just post the quotes around the house to let mom know that she is the center of attention for the day. (If you use any of these quotes in scrapbooks or other personalized gifts, be sure to give credit to the original author.)
* A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. – Tenneva Jordan
* All mothers are working mothers. – Unknown
* A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts. – Washington Irving
* A man’s work is from sun to sun, but a mother’s work is never done. – Unknown
* The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness. – Honor- de Balzac
* A mother understands what a child does not say. – Unknown
* The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom – Henry Ward Beecher
* A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary. – Dorothy Canfield Fisher
* Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever. – Unknown
* Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to ‘jump at de sun.’ We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground. – Zora Neale Hurston
* Let France have good mothers, and she will have good sons. – Napoleon Bonaparte
* Of all the rights of women, the greatest is to be a mother. – Lin Yutang
* A mother had a slender, small body, but a large heart – a heart so large that everybody’s grief and everybody’s joy found welcome in it, and hospitable accommodation. – Mark Twain