Mother’s Day is a celebration of the emotional and familial bond between a mother and a child – as well as any other maternal figure in one’s life, such as a grandmother, step-mum or mother-in-law. Over 30% of the British people say their mum is the most inspirational person in their life. So how do they celebrate her on this special day?
In the UK, the exact date of this holiday changes every year, although it always falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent. This year, Mother’s Day will be celebrated on the 31st of March. Mothering Sunday, as it is called in Christianity, is celebrated by the British people three weeks before Easter Sunday. It was originally a day for Catholics to take time off work and visit their ‘mother church’ to honour the Virgin Mary. They would often pick flowers to give to their mothers and bake special cakes called Mothering Cakes. Throughout the centuries, the day has evolved to a more secular celebration.
To show appreciation for their mothers and everything they do, people traditionally gift them with cards, flowers and chocolates. Some present their mums with spa trips or jewellery, but most mothers agree that the best gift is to be able to spend more time with the family. Younger children (with the help of their dads) prepare breakfast in bed and make their own gifts, like drawings. Older ones come for a visit to sit together for a Sunday meal or invite their mothers to a nice restaurant.
Mother’s Day is known by different cultures all around the world. However, the origins of the holiday vary across the globe. Below are some examples of why and when Mother’s Day is celebrated in seven different countries.
In the Antwerp region of Belgium Mother’s Day is celebrated on the 15th of August. According to the Christian calendar, it is the Day of the Assumption. People believe that on this day Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, was taken into Heaven at the end of her earthly life. Mother’s Day is hugely celebrated on this day also in Costa Rica.
Mother’s Day is celebrated at the end of the rainy season, on the second Sunday of May. However, unlike in many other countries, the celebrations in Ethiopia last for three days! Mother’s Day is a part of a three-day Antrosht festival, when family members gather round and have a large feast (very often prepared by children for their mothers: boys bring the meat, while the girls take care of the vegetables) which includes a traditional meal called hash. After the feast, mothers are honoured with gifts, and all friends and family sign and dance to greet the new season.
Jumada al-thani is celebrated on the 20thday of the sixth month of the Islamic calendar. It is believed to be the birthday anniversary of Fatimah, Prophet Muhammad’s only daughter (according to Shia Muslims). Banners reading “O! Fatimah!” are displayed on government buildings, public streets and windows. Children thank their mothers, and husbands thank their wives and gift them with flowers and jewellery.
Mother’s Day celebrations in Paraguay fall on the same day as Dia de la Patria, that is the independence of Paraguay. The date was chosen to honour the role of Juana María de Lara in the proclamation of Paraguay’s independence. Juana María’s home was the headquarters of Paraguayan revolutionaries and became the first woman to celebrate the independence of Paraguay and congratulate the heroes of the independence. It is believed she brought them a bouquet of red, white and blue flowers that is said to have inspired the national flag of Paraguay.
Russians used to celebrate Mother’s Day on the same day as International Women’s Day that is on the 8th of March. It was a public holiday in the whole Soviet Union and is still celebrated as such in Bulgaria and Azerbeijan. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia’s new president Boris Yeltsin officially declared the last Sunday of every November as Mother’s Day. Children put a lot of effort into making this day joyful and memorable for their mothers, by preparing cards and presents.
In Taiwan Mother’s Day coincides with Buddha’s birthday. It is celebrated on the second Sunday of May. A traditional ritual of “bathing the Buddha” is observed. Scented and blessed water is poured over an image of an infant Prince by the Buddhists to thank him for coming into the world.
Mother’s Day in Thailand is a very special occasion. It is celebrated on the birthday of the Queen of Thailand, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit. The day, 12th of August, is a national holiday and mothers receive a traditional gift of dok mali, which is jasmine, the flower that resembles motherhood and is seen as symbol of purity and gentleness.
For all the children out there – remember, no matter what you call it, whether it may be Fête des mères, Eid al-umm, Muttertag or Dia das Mães, make sure to tell your mother how much you love her! ♥