This Sunday is Mothering Sunday, commercially known as Mother’s Day, in the UK. It’s celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent and as the name suggests, the day is all about mum. The tradition started in the 16th century when poor children were given a day off work to go home to honour the Virgin Mary at their “mother church”. They would pick flowers and bake special cakes to give to their mother’s. Reading up about this got me thinking – what do Mother’s Day Traditions look like around the world?
The USA is where the Mother’s Day we know today started. Many forms of Mother’s Day traditions existed before the 20th century but they typically had religious roots. The commercialised, secular form of Mother’s Day was started out by a woman called Ann Reeves Jarvis when her mother died. She wanted to have a national day for everyone to honour the sacrifices mothers make for their children. And rightly so!
In Ethiopia, Mother’s Day is celebrated at the end of the rainy season as part of a three-day festival dedicated to mums. As a result of the skies clear up, family members come home to celebrate with a large feast and lots of singing and dancing. It’s tradition for sons to bring the meat and daughters to bring vegetables, butter, spices and cheese. These ingredients are whipped into a tradition hash recipe.
Related post: Valentine’s Day Traditions Around The World
Muttertag! That’s what Mother’s Day is called in Germany. It takes place on the second Sunday in May but is moved if it falls on Pentecost. The day took on political significance during the Second World War when it was used to acknowledge women for producing children for the Fatherland. Gold, Silver and Bronze medals were actually awarded based upon how many children a household had!
However, once the war was over, Mother’s Day traditions in Germany softened to cards, gifts and flowers with a festive meal to mark the occasion.
Mother’s Day is know as fête des mères in France and it takes place on the last Sunday of May. Napoleon first declared the day a celebration as he wanted to reward mothers of large families. The Mother’s Day tradition was revived during the First World War when, similar to Germany, mothers of four or five children were given medals.
Today, French children will do chores around the house, write poems, get flowers and bake a cake for their mums. The day typically ends with a large, celebratory meal.
Mother’s Day, traditionally know as Dia das Mães, is actually the second most celebrated commercial holiday in Brazil (after Christmas, of course!) It occurs on the second Sunday in May. The children putting on special performances and families attending church gatherings. After that, families usually host a large, multi-generational barbecue.
Do you have any special Mother’s Day Traditions that run in your family?