How People Celebrate Mother’s Day Around the World (Slideshow)

Mothers are honored throughout the month of May across the world and in countless different ways


Mother’s Day in France is reserved for the last Sunday in May and it’s generally celebrated as a treasured family holiday with an intimate sit-down dinner featuring Mom as the guest of honor. Mothers are usually presented with a special flower bouquet cake. It is exactly what it sounds like: a cake that looks like a bouquet of flowers.        


Celebrating Mother's Day is a fairly new tradition in India but it has been fast gaining in popularity. The capital of New Delhi has, by far, the biggest celebration in the country; companies launch ranges of special products aimed at the female market and restaurants tempt families in with various Mother’s Day specials. 


The people of Mexico celebrate their mothers on a fixed day every year, the 10th of May. It’s a colorful and effervescent affair celebrated with loud church masses and bright local parties and parades. Mothers are usually given an early morning meal of tamales atole, prepared by their children.


Though Mother's Day falls on the same day here as it does in the U.S., it’s usually commemorated with the tradition of wearing a carnation. A colored carnation signifies that a person's mother is living while a white carnation is used to honor a deceased mother. Grandmothers, aunts, and other maternal figures are also honored on this day with flowers, special family meals, and gifts of gratitude.

South Africa

South Africans celebrate their mothers on the second Sunday of May, much like in the U.S. (though it used to be celebrated on the fourth Sunday of May like the U.K. of which it is a former colony). The holiday is generally celebrated with a focus on homemade gifts and cards, particularly by younger children, while older ones usually prepare a meal for their mothers and sometimes buy small gifts. As an extension, the holiday also celebrates grandmothers, aunts, and all women who have maternal roles in the family or society.

The United Kingdom

The British honor their mothers on the fourth Sunday of May. The first was celebrated sometime in the 1600s on “Mothering Sunday” which has since become known simply as Mother’s Day. It’s usually celebrated with a family lunch where moms are presented with a rich almond cake (often called a “Mothering Cake” or a “Simnel Cake”). 


Celebrated on the second Sunday of May, the holiday was kick-started by Anna Jarvis in 1908 as a day to honor the death of her own mother. Officially signed in as a holiday in 1914 (so Mother’s Day is now officially 100 years old in the U.S.), it is now a national holiday celebrated with much enthusiasm. Americans celebrate their mothers and thank them for their love and contributions with gifts, cards, and shared meals. Interestingly, Mother’s Day in the U.S. has been often criticized as being too commercial. It is considered as the biggest commercial holiday after Christmas and Valentine’s Day.


The Spanish don’t celebrate Mother’s Day in May at all. Mother’s Day is instead commemorated on December 8th. It generally coincides with several religious holidays, especially one honoring one of the most iconic modern-civilization mothers: the Virgin Mary. The holiday is celebrated with events around the country including parades and church masses.