How and When Mother’s Day Is Celebrated Around the World

April 30, 2017

Feliz día de la madre. Bonne fête des mères. Selamat Hari Ibu. Happy Mother’s Day. No matter how you say it or when you celebrate it, Mother’s Day has become an internationally recognized holiday in which we honor our mothers, and motherly figures. While we here in America will be celebrating Mother’s Day in just a few weeks with flowers, delicious treats, and homemade cards, plenty of other countries will be celebrating in their own unique ways. Let’s take a trip around the world to learn how these seven countries celebrate Mother’s Day.


When: Last Sunday of May

Have you ever felt like your mother deserved an award for all that she has done for you? Well in France, she actually might have! In 1920, the French government created the Médaille de la Famille — a medal awarded to mothers who had successfully raised several children. Many children will apply for the award in their mother’s name and present it to her on Mother’s Day.

Typically, Mother’s Day in France is celebrated on the last Sunday of May, however it is moved to the first Sunday of June if it falls on the Pentecost.

The Middle East

When: Mid March/ First Day of Spring

Inspired by the folktale of a son who ignored his widowed mother, a holiday honoring mothers was proposed by two brothers in the early 1950s. Since spring often represents warmth and new life, they decided to have Mother’s Day fall on the first day of spring. Today, Mother’s Day is celebrated throughout Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Iraq.


When: June 1st

On June 1st, mothers and children are celebrated, as it’s both Mother’s and Children’s Day in Mongolia. Rather than a personal, family celebration, the holiday is used to bring awareness to the many challenges and exploitation facing women and children. Each year on Mother’s and Children’s Day, men, women, and children attend protests, marches, and seminars aimed at creating a more inclusive and safe country.

United Kingdom

When: Last week of March

Often referred to as “Mothering Sunday,” Mother’s Day in the UK was originally a religious holiday. The “mother” in Mothering Sunday actually referred to your “mother church” — the church you were baptized in or attended as a child. During the journey to their childhood church, people would stop to visit with their mothers and grandmothers. Overtime, the tradition became a secular holiday, dedicated to honoring mothers of all kinds. Mother’s Day in the UK is celebrated very similarly to America’s, with children giving their mothers gifts, fruits, chocolates, flowers, and homemade cards.


When: December 22nd

While we here in the states are eagerly waiting for Santa to come down the chimney, the people of Indonesia are preparing for Mother’s Day. In 1953, the president of Indonesia made December 22nd, the anniversary of the First Indonesian Women’s Congress, Mother’s Day. However the date is also commonly referred to as Women’s Day, as it honors all women, those with and without children.


When: August 12th

In honor of Her Majesty Sirikit the Queen Of Thailand, who was considered the mother of her subjects, the Thai government declared her birthday, August 12th, Mother’s Day. Though Mother’s Day is a familial holiday, it is also a national holiday, with city-wide parades, fireworks, and candle-lighting vigils.


When: First Sunday of May

Similar to the rest of the world, Mother’s Day in Spain, also known as Día de la Madre or Día de las Madres, honors and celebrates mothers and motherly figures. You’ll also find companies getting in the spirit, as shops often decorate their windows with paintings of flowers, chocolates, and greeting cards.

No matter where you live or how you celebrate, we’re wishing everyone a very happy and fruitful Mother’s Day