It’s Mother’s Day on Sunday, so we thought that you would like this quick introduction to some of the ways it’s celebrated around the world

When you think of Mother’s Day, you often think about breakfast in bed and homemade gifts; doing something nice for your mum to show you love and appreciate her for everything she does. Across the globe, there are days that are dedicated to mums and everything they do for us. But where did the tradition originate from and how do other countries celebrate?

The team at have dug deep into the history of this holiday, and the variety of customs and traditions to honour mothers.

What’s the history behind Mother’s Day?

In the UK, Mother’s Day was originally known as ‘Mothering Sunday’. Workers and poorer families were given one day off in the year to visit their mother church and celebrate Lent and the run up to Easter. The church service celebrated motherhood and the birth of children.

The commercialised Mother’s Day we recognise today actually began in the United States. In 1908, Anna Jarvis held a memorial service for her mother in West Virginia and campaigned for the day to be internationally recognised. In 1914, the President at the time, Woodrow Wilson, signed a proclamation stating that every second Sunday in May will be henceforth known as Mother’s Day. By the 1920s, Hallmark had begun selling cards, and the day’s popularity grew.

Why is it celebrated on different days around the world?

Mother’s Day doesn’t have any specific set date. This is mainly because each country celebrates the day very differently. Here are some of the most extravagant and fun customs and traditions:

In India, there is a 10-day festival in October celebrating the Goddess of mothers, Durga. The celebration is thought to date back to the sixteenth century and is both a time for family and to observe Hindu customs. People spend weeks decorating their homes in preparation for the festival and share food and gifts with their mums.

Nepalese Mother’s Day is celebrated on Baishak Krishna Ausi, according to the Lunar calendar. Mothers on this day are given sweets and many people take spiritual baths in the scared pond of Matatirtha in Kathmandu.

People in Ethiopia celebrate Mother’s Day for three days. The festival is known as ‘Antrosht’ and coincides with the end of the rainy season. There are big events of feasting, dancing and singing well into the night.
In Brazil, Mother’s Day is the country’s second most celebrated holiday and is commemorated on the second Sunday of May. It is known as Dia das Mães and children will perform for their mothers in special productions, while there are also huge meals prepared for all members the family.

French children celebrate ‘Fête des Mères’ on the last Sunday of May. Its history stems from the time of Napoléon when he would award Mothers for having children. Kids will traditionally do housework and write poetry for their mums. At the end of the day, there is a large meal for the whole family to enjoy.

In Japan, Mother’s Day is called ‘Haha no Hi’ and is celebrated on the second Sunday of May. Many children will give their Mother’s red carnations and cook traditional meals that their mothers had taught them.