When is Mother's Day - Understanding Mother's Day: A Celebratory Overview of Dates and Traditions Worldwide - 11/Mar/2024

When is Mother’s Day – Understanding Mother’s Day: A Celebratory Overview of Dates and Traditions Worldwide – 11/Mar/2024

Understanding Mother’s Day: A Celebratory Overview of Dates and Traditions Worldwide

Mother’s Day is a special occasion dedicated to honoring and celebrating mothers and mother figures globally. While the sentiment of appreciating maternal bonds is universally acknowledged, the date of Mother’s Day varies across different countries and cultures. This stems from historical, religious, and cultural roots that shape the unique ways in which Mother’s Day is observed around the world.

Historical Roots of Mother’s Day in the United States

Mother’s Day as we know it today, especially in the United States, can trace its history back to the efforts of Anna Jarvis in the early 20th century. Her dedication to the cause of celebrating all mothers annually led to the official establishment of Mother’s Day as a national holiday in the U.S. Jarvis campaigned tirelessly following her own mother’s death in 1905 to institute a day that celebrated the sacrifices mothers make for their children.

Through her advocacy, the second Sunday of May was declared as Mother’s Day by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914. The day started with a religious tone but quickly became secularized over time. Although Jarvis later became disillusioned with the commercialization of the holiday she helped create, Mother’s Day has evolved to be widely celebrated across the United States by people presenting gifts, cards, and spending quality time with their mothers or mother figures.

Mother’s Day Around the World: Variations in Dates and Customs

While many countries have adopted America’s date for Mother’s Day celebration, several others celebrate their version of Mother’s Day at different times throughout the year due to various historical or cultural reasons:

United Kingdom

In the UK, Mothering Sunday is celebrated on the fourth Sunday in Lent. This tradition is believed to have originated from the Christian practice where people would return to their ‘mother church’ for a special service during Lent. Over time, it transitioned into a more secular holiday that more closely mirrors the American version.


Norwegians celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in February. Interestingly, it was not widely recognized until after World War II and has since gained popularity as a day for appreciating mothers.


France’s Fête des Mères takes place on the last Sunday in May or on the first Sunday in June if Pentecost happens on that day. The current version of French Mother’s Day emerged in the early 20th century.


Thailand honors mothers on August 12th, commemorating the birthday of Queen Sirikit, whom many regard as the mother of their nation. This underscores the intertwining of national feeling with maternal respect in Thai culture.


In Ethiopia, mothers are honored during a festival called Antrosht, which takes place over three days at some point when the rainy season ends (usually in fall). This event is as much about motherhood as it is about celebrating family and community ties.

As traditions surrounding Mother’s Day continue to evolve, one may observe common themes across countries: appreciation for parental sacrifice, recognition of maternal love, and an embrace of family unity.

How People Celebrate

Across nations where Mother’s Day is emblematic, there are some universal practices such as giving flowers—including carnations and roses—handmade items from children, and organizing family gatherings. Yet unique customs often remain linked to a country’s local heritage and practices.


  • The second Sunday in May is recognized as Mother’s Day by more than 50 countries.
  • Anna Jarvis trademarked phrases “second Sunday in May” and “Mother’s Day,” showing her intent to keep it singularly associated with her own mother at first.
  • It’s estimated that more than $20 billion is spent on Mother’s Day annually in America alone.
  • In Spain, Mother’s Day also carries religious overtones being tied directly to the Virgin Mary.
  • Image Description

    The picture visualizes a heartwarming setting typically associated with Mother’s Day: vibrant pink and white carnations bundled together with a joyful greeting card standing beside them on a soft wooden surface that suggests a cozy, domestic setting fit for Mother’s Day celebrations.