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Mother's Day Around the World: Traditions & Celebrations

May 01, 2014 01:00AM ● By Erin Frisch

It's time to celebrate Mom after all, everyone in the whole world is doing it! Celebrations over maternal figures have been observed since the ancient Roman and Greek civilizations, but specific celebrations for motherhood began in the early 1600s in Great Britain. Now it's celebrated in countries around the globe, with each nation putting its own twist on their special day to honor the first person we ever meet.


Mother's Day is celebrated on the fourth Sunday during Lent in England, which means it lands on a different day each year. Traditionally, children give flowers and bouquets to their mothers in thanks. Mother's Day is a large celebration here, with roses, carnations, and chrysanthemums selling in record numbers. It's also common to bake an almond cake called Mothering Cake to celebrate the day.

United States

Like many other holidays, Mother's Day has become a huge commercial operation in the United States, with people buying loads of gifts to shower on their mother, all to show love and appreciation. Ordering Mother's Day flowers online is very popular, while special Mother's Day brunches and dinners cause restaurants to fill to capacity. Special cards are given, from the sentimental to the hilarious, and breakfast in bed made by the children is a traditional treat.

New Zealand

Mother's Day is a large occasion in New Zealand, with the day being celebrated the same time as in the United States, on the second Sunday in May. Whole families go out to dinner or on picnics together, and people celebrate the concept of motherhood as well as the efforts of their own mothers. Cards and flowers sell in record numbers as they are given to aunts, cousins, neighbors, and any other woman who is a mother. Markets have one of their busiest days of the year as loved ones shop for the perfect Mother's Day gift.


In Argentina, Mother's Day, or Día de la Madre, is celebrated in October instead of May, which makes sense since the holiday is associated with springtime. Children make crafts in school for their mothers, while husbands do housework and cook dinner. The mother is allowed to relax and only do enjoyable things through the day. It is also tradition for children to read a poem they've written for their mother, while the children's grandmothers remain hidden and listen in on the reading. Once the poem is read the grandmother will make an appearance. Each mother also receives a number of gifts, including flowers, cards, jewelry, or an unexpected surprise.


Mother's Day is celebrated in Ethiopia later in the year, at the end of the rainy season. Ethiopians take a trip to their family home for a three-day celebration honoring their matriarch. Each child brings a different ingredient to a traditional dish and the mother prepares the dish and serves it to her family. After the meal, mothers and daughters anoint themselves with butter, and there is dancing and celebration for two to three days to follow. The women dance while the men provide the music by singing songs about mothers and other heroes.

How are you celebrating Mom this year?

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