Why Mother's Day is celebrated on different days around the world

Happy Mother's Day! Feliz Dia de las Madres! Furaha Ya Mama Siku!

It doesn't matter how you say it, the sentiment is the same: Happy Mother's Day, Mum. We love you. Thank you. You are the centre of our family and for that, we are grateful.

If you’re a mum that has lived in several countries you might even be lucky enough to get homemade cards, flowers and breakfast in bed on multiple days.  As Mothers’ Day is celebrated all over the world, but the date varies in different countries.

The concept of Mothers’ Day can be traced back as far as the ancient Greeks and Romans. People held festivals in honour of goddesses such as Rhea and Cybele. However, the most modern model comes from Christianity and it’s day known as “Mothering Sunday”.

Here are some other reasons why different countries celebrate this day on a different days.

1. United Kingdom – Mothers’ Day/ Mothering Sunday

This year Mothers’ Day falls on the 31st of March (I hope you remembered!) but last year it was on the 11th of March. You might wonder why the change of dates. To answer that question, in the UK Mothers’ Day really depends on when Easter falls that specific year. Mothers’ Day used to be known as Mothering Sunday, which is the fourth Sunday of Lent. It is also always three weeks before Easter. Beginning in the 16th Century, this tradition gave poor children a day off work to go home and honour the Virgin Mary at their “mother church” which allowed mothers to see their children. The children would often pick flowers to give to their mothers and bake special cakes called Mothering Cakes or Simnel Cakes.

However, this slowly turned into a tradition of spending time with mums, often taking them out for a traditional Sunday Lunch, doing chores and thanking them for everything they do.

2. Poland - Dzień Matki

Poland, unlike the UK, has a fixed date for their Mothers’ Day and that is the 26th of May - and has been since 1914 when it was first celebrated in Krakow. However, it did not become popular until after the Second World War. It is not stated why the 26th was the exact date but the month of May has large importance in Poland due to Christian connotations. May in Poland is known as Month of Mary, Mother of Jesus in which Poles pray towards the mother figure in their religion, hence the day dedicated to mothers in Poland. Churches host mass on that day for all mothers.

Poland is the only country that celebrates this holiday on this specific date.

3. Russia - день матери (den’ materi)

Originally Russia celebrated Mothers’ Day, the same day as International Women’s day which was a public holiday. This holiday was only established in the 1940’s - however it was a working day till 1965.  The date for this holiday came about when Russian women declared a rebellion to gain equal rights in Russia. Boris Yeltsin who was president in Russia at the time announced the official date for Mother Day due to the rebellion, this date is the last Sunday of November. Just shows how important Mothers’ Day is for Russian women!

This year Russia celebrates Mothers’ Day on the 24th of November.

4. Japan - 母の日 (Haha no hi)

Traditionally Mothers’ Day in Japan was celebrated on the 6th of March during the Shōwa period (1926 - 1989). The day was a celebration of Empress Kōjun birthday. The first celebration happened in the year of 1931. From that point on, Japanese slowly started following some of the western traditions, this included celebrating Mother’s Day on the same day as America.

Children draw pictures of their mothers in school and sometimes enter them in art competitions. Like most other countries, Mother's Day is a day of pampering for mums -- children help take over the household chores, have a special family meal, like sushi or eggs, and give their mothers red carnations or roses and cards.

This year Japan celebrates Mothers’ Day on the 12th of May.

5. Mexico - Día de la Madre

In the North of Mexico, Mothers’ Day become known in the early 20th century due to the closeness to the United States. However, in the rest of Mexico, the holiday did not become popular till later. The holiday was first celebrated in 1922.

The concept of Mothers’ Day was made by men in Mexico unlike in other countries where women were the initiators of the holiday. Mother's Day in Mexico was introduced as men in Mexico at that time were worried that women were leaving their roles as Mother’s due to factors such as growing equality and contraceptive methods. Hence, official Mother's Day was created to remind women what people believed then was their ‘role’.

This year Mexico celebrates Mothers’ Day on the 10th of May.

6. America - Mother’s Day

Mother's Day in America was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew's Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. St Andrew's Methodist Church now holds the International Mother's Day Shrine. Her campaign to make Mother's Day a recognized holiday in the United States began in 1905, the year her mother died.

Anna Jarvis’s mother had been a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War, and created Mother's Day Work Clubs to address public health issues. Anna Jarvis wanted to honor her mother by continuing the work she started and to set aside a day to honor all mothers because she believed a mother is "the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world"

This year America celebrates Mother’s Day on the 12th of May.

Although Mother's Day traditions and dates may vary, the emotion and love that ties families together is the same the world over. No matter how or when it is celebrated, it simply serves as a reminder of all mums do for their families every single day and the honour they deserve because of it.

When do you celebrate Mothers’ Day? What is traditional to give to mum on mother’s day where you live? Let us know in the comments!

Zaklina Rycko

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#mothersday #traditions #world #expatlife

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