Mother’s Day Around the World

Many Ways of Showing Gratitude. In Africa and the Middle East, March is the time for honoring mothers.

Mother’s Day Around the World

By Our Partners

Mother’s Day became an official holiday in the United States in 1914. While much of the Americas and Europe celebrate Mother’s Day in May, in other parts of the world, a similar holiday is celebrated at other times of the year and takes other forms.

What seems to be universal is the enthusiasm about celebrating the many things mothers do for us.

All Year Long

During every month of the year except July and September, somewhere in the world, mothers are being formally recognized. Norway celebrates on the second Sunday in February. Argentina’s Dia de la Madre is celebrated on the third Sunday of October. Indonesia and Panama celebrate Mom in November. In Africa and the Middle East, March is the time for honoring mothers. Costa Rica and Thailand celebrate in August. The calendar is packed with ways to honor mom. But of course, we all know that any day of the year is a good day to say, “Thanks, Mom!”

Many Ways of Showing Gratitude

In the United States, popular ways to show our thanks include spending quality time, giving gifts and eating meals out at restaurants. Across the world, there are many traditions for Mother’s Day that reflect local culture.

In Mexico, for example, in addition to gifts and spending time with mom, it is common to see mariachi singers serenading mom with the song, “Las Mananitas,” according to Time Magazine. The lyrics: “Awaken, my dear, awaken and see that the day has dawned. Now the little birds are singing and the moon has set.”

In Thailand, the holiday is celebrated on Aug. 12 and also marks the birthday of Queen Sirikit. Ceremonies and parades are held and jasmine is a common gift, according to Time.

In Brazil, Mother’s Day celebrations in May include children’s performances and church gatherings, often including multi-generational barbecues, according to

In Japan and Australia, carnations are commonly given as gifts, and Australians also involve aunts and grandmothers in their remembrances.

In Peru, people often socialize over food and drinks in cemeteries, where they clean and decorate the graves of mothers, according to the blog Peru for Less.

In Ethiopia, Mother’s Day is celebrated as part of a three-day festival at the end of the fall rainy season. According to, daughters traditionally contribute vegetables, butter, spices and cheese to a celebratory feast, and sons bring meat, such as lamb or bull.

In Serbia, mothers are celebrated in December in a tradition called Materice, along with a Children’s Day and Father’s Day, which occur on three consecutive Sundays. The gifts exchanged are part of Christmas celebrations.

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