Mother’s Day Traditions From Around The World
Updated: May 19
Mothers play an important role in our lives. They teach us to be strong, kind, and compassionate, and they do it with grace and determination. This universal truth connects all of us, across the globe, as a testament to the power of motherhood.
To show our gratitude, we celebrate Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day is a worldwide holiday with many different traditions and customs. Check out some of the most exciting ones below!
"The importance of Mothers is universally true around the world, yet, mothers are honored and celebrated in many beautifully different ways, depending on the culture. Let's continue to seek out common threads that link us all while learning about, celebrating, and appreciating the wonder the diversity affords.” – Chantelle Daniels, Founder and Executive Director of ReDefiners World Languages
Mother's Day in the United States
Americans celebrate Mother’s Day in the United States with cards, flowers, and usually a meal honoring their mothers. The Mother’s Day card expresses love and appreciation for their mothers. Oftentimes, written inside the card will be a light-hearted joke or a serious emotional message.
There is no strict color scheme or type of flower needed, so most people go with whatever the mother likes best.
Likewise, the meal varies by family. Since Mother’s Day takes place on the second Sunday of May in the United States, many families take advantage of the warm weather to barbecue. Hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs, and steaks are popular foods you will find at these events.
Other families choose to eat their meals at a restaurant, preferring an expert chef for the occasion.
To round out the day, some people choose to give gifts to their mothers. As a token of appreciation, these gifts are smaller than what you’d give for Christmas.
The defining factor of an American Mother’s Day might be its malleable and fluid quality, easily changing to fit the needs of every family.
Mother's Day in Mexico
The people of Mexico celebrate Mother’s Day, Día de las Madres, on the 10th of May. Unlike other countries on this list, Día de las Madres takes place on the same date every year.
Food and flowers are a centerpiece of the festivities, and singing is quite popular as well. Mexicans perform the “Las Mañanitas” song, which means the “Morning song” or “Little Mornings,” to show appreciation to their mothers.
As a nation rooted strongly in Catholic tradition, special Mother’s Day mass services are held for the followers of the religion.
Mother's Day in Peru
Mother’s Day is extremely popular in Peru. On top of the normal activities, Peruvians gather at cemeteries with their families. They clean the graves of their deceased mothers and decorate them with balloons and flowers. This act of love helps them celebrate their mothers, past and present.
While the holiday may sound morbid, it is actually filled with fun, food, laughter, and parties.
Mother's Day in Thailand
In Thailand, it is customary to give your mother a jasmine flower or garland. Jasmine flowers are associated with purity and gentleness, which are admirable traits in Thai culture.
Thai people celebrate the holiday on August 12th. This date commemorates Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s birthday.
Queen Sirikit is considered to be the mother of all Thai people, so it is fitting to join the holiday with her legacy.
Mother's Day in Ethiopia
Ethiopians celebrate their mothers for three entire days! Their enthusiasm for honoring their mothers is unmatched.
The holiday centers on a three-day feast called “Antrosht” and features traditional dishes, like hash.
The women bring butter, cheese, vegetables, and spices, and the men bring bull or lamb. Then, the mother cooks for the family. This is followed by lots and lots of dancing.
Mother's Day in China
On the second Sunday of May, the people of China give carnations to their mothers. However, China prides itself on its unique identity, and lately, there have been calls to put a Chinese spin on the holiday. Now, instead of carnations, tiger lilies have become an increasingly popular gift. The Chinese consider the tiger lily to be a symbol of good fortune and happiness, which are both things you’d wish for your mother!
Because Mother’s Day originated in the United States, some Chinese people have called for the holiday to be moved to a date that is more meaningful to Chinese history and culture.
For example, one date that is often suggested is the second day of the fourth lunar month, coinciding with the birth of Mencius’ mother, a popular story in China.
Mencius was a great Chinese philosopher, second only to Confucius. When he was young, his mother moved homes three times to provide her son with the best education possible, which allowed him to learn and grow into the great thinker that he was to become. He couldn’t have done it without his mother!
Mother's Day in Japan
Mother’s Day in Japan is known as Haha no Hi. Usually, the Japanese give gifts, make cards, send flowers, and treat their mothers to a nice meal. Carnations and flowers are thought to be excellent gifts as well.
Interestingly, the Emperor of Japan banned Mother’s Day during World War II. He considered it to be too closely related to Western culture. However, once peace was made, the legal restrictions were lifted, and the beloved holiday made its return.
Since then, the Japanese people have freely celebrated their mothers.
Mother's Day in Egypt
The Egyptians did not officially partake in Mother’s Day until 1953. Inspired by the American holiday, a journalist named Mostafa Amin wrote a letter to the Egyptian Ministry of Education arguing that Egypt, too, needed a day dedicated to mothers.
The Minister agreed, and the Egyptian Mother’s Day was set for March 21st. It is still celebrated on that day.
Like Mother’s Day in many other countries, Egyptians choose to give flowers and gifts to their mothers to express their heartfelt emotions.
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Mother’s Day is an extraordinary holiday. It helps us remember the sacrifices our mothers have made for us and recognize their impact on our lives. By looking at Mother's Day traditions from around the world, we can see the universal importance of motherhood. It brings us together and helps us understand each other.
At ReDefiners, we call that becoming a global citizen, and it’s our mission to spread that message to as many people as possible through the power of language
Visit the ReDefiners World Languages website if you are interested in learning more extraordinary lessons from languages across the world. Our communication-and-conversation approach is proven to be the most effective method for learning a new language. Each class is taught by teachers with native-like proficiency, and the small classes allow for unique curriculums that are molded to your learning speed. We offer online classes in English, Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin.