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Mother’s Day traditions from around the world

02 Mar 2018

We’ve looked into Mother’s Day traditions across the globe to see just how each country says thank you to their Mums…

United Kingdom – Fourth Sunday of Lent


England was the first ever country to dedicate a day of the year to their Mothers. This started in the 1600s when people would make and eat almond cake or simnel cake to celebrate the day.

Ireland – Fourth Sunday of Lent


Mother’s Day is a Christian holiday in Ireland where traditionally children would go to church to honour their ‘mother’ the Virgin Mary before presenting their own mother with gifts and flowers.

Egypt – 21st March

Egyptian Meal

First celebrated in 1956, the original founder of the day was imprisoned as the Egyptian government wanted to change the day to Family Day and have the date moved. However, it is tradition to show gratitude and thanks mostly towards mothers on this day.

Serbia – Second Sunday before Christmas

Sweet treats

Now this one’s a little strange…
In Serbia, Mother’s Day is part of a three day celebration which also encompasses Child’s Day and Father’s Day. Usually on Mother’s Day they would tie the mothers up until they submit and give treats to their children. For the record, we don‘t recommend trying this one at home!


Ethiopia – Second Sunday in May

Ethiopian meal

Known as the Antrosht Festival, Mother’s Day is celebrated at the end of the rainy season. Traditionally, the sons bring meat, daughters bring vegetables and they cook a meal for the family. The occasion is also famous for families singing and dancing together. 

India – Second Sunday in May

The Goddess of Mothers: Durja

Mother’s Day is not only about your own Mum in India. They celebrate and give thanks for their own mothers in May but also have a 10 day festival known as Durga Puja in October which celebrates Durga, the Goddess of Mothers. 

Japan – Second Sunday in May

White carnation

Following the Second World War, Mother’s Day was formed to honour and console mothers who lost their children in the war. It’s tradition to present and wear a white carnation. 

Ecuador – Second Sunday in May

Photo by Una Colomiana En California

In Ecuador, it is tradition for the son to travel to their mother’s house before sunrise, no matter how far away they live, to serenade their mum with a song. The mum then hands the son a glass of alcoholic firewater known as Canelazo when he is finished. 
Personally, we’d rather not be woken up at sunrise on Mother’s Day unless they’ve got the voice of an angel, and even then it’s questionable. We’d prefer a lie in!

Paraguay – 15th May

Paraguyan Independence Day
Photo by Global Voices Online

Paraguayans celebrate Mother’s Day on 15th May which is also their Independence Day. The whole family get together and enjoy a day of traditional food, activities and love.

Australia – Second Sunday in May

Red and White Carnation

On Mother’s Day in Australia it’s traditional to wear a carnation. If you wear a red or coloured carnation it symbolises that your mother is still living, however if you wear a white carnation you’re paying your respects.


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