In the western world, we are so used to celebrating Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May. This special event became an official celebration in 1914. Mother’s Day was actually created by an American, Anna Jarvis, who wanted to dedicate a special day to her mother, after she passed away.
Mother’s Day was quickly adopted by many western countries and eventually turned into a successful commercial enterprise. Many non-western countries however, also celebrate Mother’s Day, which is not related to Anna Jarvis and isn’t on the same day in May.
So let’s take a look at the history of Mother’s Day in these countries and how they celebrate this special day.
United Kingdom: Mothering Sunday is the fourth Sunday of Lent (three weeks before Easter) and was historically a day when people returned to their local parish in the UK to attend church. However, when Mother’s Day was created in 1914 in the USA, Constance Penswick-Smith pushed for a similar celebration in the UK, merging Mothering Sunday with Mother’s Day.
Indonesia: Mother’s Day in Indonesia can also be called Women’s Day, because it was created in 1953 and falls on the anniversary of the First Indonesian Women’s Congress that took place in 1928. So the Indonesian’s Mother’s Day or Women’s Day that is celebrated on 22nd December every year, highlights the contribution of all women to their society, not just mothers.
France: Celebrated on the last Sunday of May, the French Mother’s Day has had a checkered history. It first started unsuccessfully with Napoleon in 1806 and with many subsequent incarnations, ended in 1941 during WWII with a firm date set in May. The French Mother’s Day was finally established in their calendar in an effort to anchor the concept of the family in French society and to add stability to the country during and after the war years.
Australia: Australians like to take their moms out to lunch for Mother’s Day and lavish them with flowers and chocolates. This is the best way they can express love and gratitude to their mothers. No wonder Mothers Day flowers across Melbourne and other parts of the country as well as cards often run out.
Thailand: August 12th is the day Thai’s celebrate Mother’s Day. This is actually the birthday of the Queen of Thailand – her Majesty Sirikit, Queen Regent of Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. Since she is considered to be the Mother of her subjects, her birthday is celebrated throughout Thailand with fireworks and other festivities.
Ethiopia: Mother’s Day in Ethiopia has no specific date, simply occurring at the end of the rainy season. At this time, everyone treks back to their home to celebrate the feast of Antrosht. This is a three-day festival where all of the women, particularly mothers, prepare special meals to share with the family.