Mother’s Day Celebrations in Cultures Around the World

Mother’s Day Celebrations in Cultures Around the World

Photo by Gustavo

“It may be possible to gild pure gold, but who can make his mother more beautiful?” - Mahatma Gandhi

There is no doubt that a mother’s role is one of the most important in the circle of life. Nothing can come into this world without one, and we can survive only through the nourishment of our Mother Earths’ abundance.

Mother’s Day is a greatly honored celebration around the world where mothers from all walks of life are reminded of their importance through ceremonial gift-giving and showers of love and affection.

International Mothers Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of the year in many countries including America, South Africa, and Australia. However, some countries celebrate Mother’s Day independently in their own wonderful ways.

Keep reading to find out more about the alluring ways some countries and cultures celebrate and view Mother’s Day and how some of these celebrations came into fruition.

The United States of America - Mother Jarvis & the Roots of a Beloved Holiday

Photo by The Everett Collection

Mother’s Day in the USA wasn’t always about flowers and presents but rather to show acknowledgment for how much our mothers do. The origin of the tradition lies with Anne Reeves Jarvis, often known as “Mother Jarvis,” and her mission during the American Civil War.

Mother Jarvis devoted her time to bringing unity within her socially divided community through her “Mother’s Day Work Clubs” where women could come together to solve problems and raise awareness of poor health conditions caused by the war. After the war, she went on to coordinate “Mother’s Friendship Day” to promote harmony between the Confederacy and the Union.

Inspired and driven by Anne Jarvis’s work, her daughter, Anna, set out with determination to get Mother’s Day recognized and added to the calendar in her mother’s honor. In 1908, she successfully inspired the first celebration of Mother’s Day, and by 1914, after most of the US had adopted the celebration, President Woodrow Wilson officially affirmed the day as a National Holiday.

From that moment onwards, the holiday became commercialized with retailers using the holiday for profit, much to Anna Jarvis’ discontent. For the rest of her life, she tried to encourage families to remember the purpose of Mother’s Day: Truly showing appreciation.

India - The Universal Mother Festival

Photo by ABHISHEK KUMAR SAH from Getty Images

With a country so culturally diverse, it is no wonder that India celebrates Mother’s Day in more than one way. In recent years, the universal traditions of Mother’s Day have become a part of the general celebrations for moms across India.

The single-day is celebrated on International Mothers Day where worldwide traditions of showering mothers with gifts, flowers, and affection ensue and moms all over the country feel honored and special. However, before these traditions were accepted in India, the Hindu community of India had its own Mothers Day celebration called Durga Puja.

Still keenly celebrated today, Durga Puja is a 10-day festival honoring the most important goddess in the Hindu religion called Durga, otherwise known as “The Divine Mother.” The festival is held in October and symbolizes the Mother goddess’s triumph over evil.

During the Durga Puja festival, Hindu families come together to worship the goddess and celebrate with dance, decoration, and food preparation. It is a common tradition for the whole family to wear new clothes and enjoy the time together in excitement.

Mexico - El Dia de las Madre & Our Lady Guadalupe

Photo by MonicaNinker by Getty Images Signature

In the Mexican culture, mothers are of great importance. The two biggest celebrations in Mexico are both centered around the importance of mothers in their own ways.

The first celebration holds the same traditions as the universal Mother’s Day celebration, only it is held on the 10th of May annually and is called El Dia de las Madre. The second celebration, held on the 12th of December, is an important religious celebration called The Feast of Our Lady Guadalupe.

Photo by Solange G

Up to 20 million people have been known to visit the basilica during this time to receive blessings, perform traditional dances, and line up to see the famous image which hangs above the altar in the center of the Basilica. Although this celebration is not the same as the traditional

Mother’s Day is held in the country where moms all over Mexico are pampered and shown appreciation, it honors an important mother figure to Mexican people and Catholics around the world.

Nepal - Blessings and The Mata Tritha Pools

Photo by Skanda Gautam

Mata Tritha is the name for Mother’s Day in Nepal and it is held on the 12th of May each year. The celebration is culturally significant for Nepalese people with the belief that paying tribute to one’s mother on this day will leave one’s life blessed.

Along with joyful festivities including gift-giving and receiving motherly blessings in return, Mata Tritha is more than just a day to honor mothers who are living, but also a day to pay respects to mothers who have passed away with visits to the Mata Tritha Pools.

The Mata Tritha pools gained significance through myths and legends. One Nepalese legend tells of a story of a young cow herder whose mother had passed away. He visited the Mata Tritha Pools with offerings and knelt to pray. Hearing his prayers, his mother’s face appeared reflected on the surface of the water where she lovingly accepted his offerings.

Legends like these leave many hoping to see the face of their mother in the pools or at the very least to feel more connected to their deceased loved one. Many also believe that leaving offerings in the pool allows the souls of the deceased to move on to the next life with ease.

Each Mother’s Day, many Nepalese people gather at these sacred pools to pay tribute to their mothers by bathing in the pools, saying prayers, and leaving offerings of flowers to float on the surface. Witnessing the ritual at the sacred Mata Tritha Pools is truly an honorable sight to behold.

Thailand - The Queen’s Birthday & White Flowers

Photo by shutterman70

In Thailand, Mother’s Day is celebrated on their Queen, Her Majesty Sirikit’s birthday each year, on the 12th of August. Queen Sirikit is seen as the mother of all Thai people, and in lieu of this, celebrations include universal Mother’s Day gestures to all mothers on this day.

The traditional flowers given to Thai moms on Mother’s Day are beautiful white jasmine blossoms, to symbolize maternal love. Children kneel in front of their mothers to show their appreciation, and in return, mothers bestow blessings onto their children.

The weeks before Mother’s Day, people hang portraits of the Queen in their homes along with the national flag. On the day of the celebration, government officials, the royal army, and students gather around the kingdom’s high clock tower before walking in song to the King’s Palace where a ceremony is held to wish the queen a long life. Some areas even let off a fireworks display!

UK - Mothering Sunday & Special Cake

Photo by Photo Storm

Celebrated on a different date to the rest of the world, Mother’s Day in the United Kingdom holds its own origins, traditions, and name. In the UK, Mother’s Day is more commonly known as Mothering Sunday and is celebrated on the 4th Sunday of Lent, which is the 40-day Christian preparation for Easter.

It is believed that Mothering Sunday has been celebrated on this day no earlier than the 16th Century when it originally honored the Holy Mother, Mother Mary, and the Mother Church of the area. Visiting the Mother Church on this day was known as “going a-mothering” and was centered around bringing families together with an emphasis on maternal figures.

Photo by Ibbo 39

Over time, Mothering Sunday became a day to honor one’s own mother by offering gifts such as flower bouquets and enjoying special fruitcakes together called simnel cakes.

After the 1940s, Mothering Sunday celebrations began merging with the International western Mother’s Day traditions. However, today, Mother’s Day in the UK still holds some long-standing traditions, and many British households still refer to the day as Mothering Sunday.

How Will You Honor Your Mom This Mother’s Day?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

All over the world and throughout history there has never been a doubt about the vital role that mothers play in nurturing children and forming society. No matter the country or difference in culture, mothers are always valued and seen as heroes!

Whether your mom is with you this year, on the other side of the world, or smiling down at you from above, you can honor her with love and admiration in any way you choose. You can also honor our Mother Earth by choosing environmentally friendly, artisan-made gifts this Mother’s Day.

For a one-of-a-kind gift to remind your mom how much you cherish her, browse our ShopatMAP store for the perfect memento. Every item is handmade with love by artisans from all over the globe, and 100% of the proceeds always go towards impoverished children and orphans.

Happy Mother’s Day from the ShopatMAP team!

Written By ShopatMAP