Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mother's Day Around the World

Mother's Day?  Isn't March a little early for Mother's Day, you ask?

Depending on where you are in the world, it's actually a little late.

I was looking at my calendar last week, and noticed that today, March 10, 2013, is Mother's Day in the U.K.  This particularly caught my attention, because while my mother is not in England now, she was born in England, immigrating to the U.S. as a pre-teen  (although they didn't call them pre-teens, back then).  I'm not quite sure why mom never took advantage of this....  all these years, she could have been insisting on two Mother's Day celebrations.  On the other hand, all of us call her fairly often..  and maybe she felt like she already gets enough cards and flowers.  I'll call her today, and ask her.

But it did make me wonder about Mother's Day around the world, and I thought I would share some interesting bits of information.  I was not surprised to discover that there's a lot of information available from various florists... apparently, wherever you happen to be, it's generally the tradition to give flowers to mothers on Mother's Day.  But there were some things that were surprising.

Mother's Day in England, began centuries ago, and was originally a church celebration... Mothering Sunday..  and was a time when you would return to your 'home church', or 'mother church'.  Coming home from church, children would pick violets and give them to their mothers....  over time, the focus shifted to honoring and celebrating mothers.

Here in the U.S., Mother's Day has had a much shorter history.  It was first suggested in 1872, but the idea didn't catch on until the early 1900's, when Anna Jarvis took up the campaign to celebrate Mother's Day.  The second Sunday in May was chosen, because that was the anniversary of her mother's death.

Then I discovered that, while there are thirty-six different dates for Mother's Day in 2013,  there are over thirty-five other countries, including Finland,  Japan and Turkey, that celebrate Mother's Day on the second Sunday in May.  Turns out that, as Mother's Day became popular in the early 1900's here in the states, people in other countries liked the idea of having a national day to celebrate your mother.  In some countries, there was already something similar in place, on a different date, so they left the date intact, and just started calling it Mother's Day.  Most Arab countries celebrate Mother's Day on the first day of spring, which seems like a nice idea... having Mother's Day coincide with flowers blooming and the weather warming up.  In Thailand, it's celebrated in August, on Queen Sirikit's birthday.

In 2013, the first Mother's Day celebration occurred in Norway, on February 10th.  Since then, there have already been another twenty celebrations, before the British Mother's Day, today.  The last Mother's Day of 2013 will be in Indonesia, on December 22nd.

So... I guess those who say that every day is Mother's Day, are closer to the truth than you might have thought.

It's still a bit early to call my mother today, so I think I'll have a cup of tea.  As it happens, I got my love of tea, from my mother, and my grandmother.  And as I said, my mother no longer lives in the U.K., she's been in the states, for over 60 years now.  But even so, later today, I'll call mom.  Not really to wish her a happy Mother's Day, but just to say hello.  And I think I'll wish her a happy Mother's Day, as well!


  1. Thanks for all the Mother's Day info, Laurie. It's nice to know it's such an international holiday.

    Japan also has a Children's Day, celebrated in May. There are special flags shaped like carp for it. Blue for boys, red for girls. You fly them from a pole on your patio or roof or wherever.

  2. I miss my mother. She died from cancer, at only age 65. Everyday should be mother's day.