Mother’s Day Celebrations Around the World

Mother’s Day is a time to honor mothers and other important women in our lives that have helped to shape who we are as individuals and as a society.

Mother and Daughter on beach in the Gold Coast | Photo Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Mother and Daughter on beach in the Gold Coast | Photo Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Early on, Mother’s Day celebrations were mostly associated with religious holidays like Mothering Sunday in Europe, which was once associated with the Virgin Mary. In ancient Rome, Mother’s Day was referred to as Matronalia, a festival in honor of the goddess, Juno, the goddess of childbirth and motherhood.

Mother and Child wildlife at Kangaroo Island | Photo Credit: Swain Destinations

Mother and Child wildlife at Kangaroo Island | Photo Credit: Swain Destinations

In some Islamic countries, Mother’s Day celebrations are observed on the birthday of Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad. In other countries like China and Bangladesh, the US custom of Mother’s Day has been adopted as the meaning of the holiday reflects the values and traditions held by most societies-honor and respect for parents and the elderly.

Shanghai City God Temple | Photo Credit: CNTO

Shanghai City God Temple | Photo Credit: CNTO

In Thailand, Mother’s Day is a popular holiday and is celebrated on the Queens birthday.  The holiday falls around August 11th – 13th. Since the Queen is the symbolic mother of Thailand, she is honored as the “First Mother” and the holiday is a time to honor mothers everywhere. Gifts, flowers and other sentiments of love and devotion are presented on this joyous holiday.

Traditional Thai Dancer at a Festival |Photo Credit: Tourism Authority of Thailand

Traditional Thai Dancer at a Festival |Photo Credit: Tourism Authority of Thailand

While many of these customs and celebrations died out over time, Mother’s Day was revived in the United States and is celebrated on the second Sunday in May every year. While some believe that Mother’s Day is a “Hallmark Holiday”, the history of the day is actually rooted in deep tradition with a rich history dating back thousands of years.

Since the United States is one of the greatest international marketplaces in the world, the variety of gifts, flowers and cards given to mothers here has become customary in other countries too.  However, an Australian woman, Janet Heyden of Sydney, is often credited with starting the tradition of gift giving on Mother’s Day.  In 1924, she started a campaign to collect gifts for elderly, lonely mothers.

Mother koala & her baby | Photo Credit: Tourism Australia

Mother koala & her baby | Photo Credit: Tourism Australia

Regardless of where you live, your religion, or what traditions you were raised with, Mother’s Day is a chance to honor your mother, or other strong female role model in your life. Whether it be with a simple greeting or showering of gifts, the sentiment behind Mother’s Day still rings true in many countries and cultures around the world–even after hundreds of years of being celebrated.

Bouquet of Flowers | Photo Credit: Cape Grace

Bouquet of Flowers | Photo Credit: Cape Grace

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