Celebrating Mother’s Day Around the Globe

Mom, Mother, Mama, Okaasan, Madre, Moeder. There are so many different words for this incredible woman. Every year, almost every country sets aside one specific day to honor mothers and motherhood, and while the date itself may not be the same country to country, they all hold the same significance. Besides the differing date, each country has different traditions to spoil this beautiful woman in our lives and hearts. Let’s take a look at the history of Mother’s Day around the globe. Plus, we’ll discuss how you can celebrate your own mother, and how many others, just like you, spoil their mom this upcoming Mother’s Day. 

The History of Mother’s Day

Although sometimes it feels like Mother’s Day is a new thing, you’d be quite surprised to find out that Mother’s Day or the act of honoring your mother can actually be traced back to the Ancient Greeks and Romans. Festivals were held to honor the Mother Goddesses Rhea and Cybele. Newer traditions first appeared with early Christian festivals known as Mothering Sunday. This particular holiday used to be a major tradition in both the UK and Europe until it faded out. Over time, Mothering Sunday merged with the American holiday of Mother’s Day in the 1930s and 1940s. 

The American Holiday of Mother’s Day was founded by Anna Jarvis, in the early 1900s when she started a Mother’s Day Work Club to teach local women how to properly care for their children. In 1908, Jarvis received financial backing from department store owner John Wanamaker and proceeded to have the first annual Mother’s Day Celebration. By 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a measure to Make Mother’s Day an official holiday! 

Gift Giving Etiquette for Mother’s Day

While we don’t believe there is a right or wrong answer to gift-giving for your mom, we know there are certain things to keep in mind when selecting the perfect option. One thing we believe you should always keep in mind is to be thoughtful and personable. Give your mom, mother-in-law, or mother-to-be something from the heart that represents them as a woman and as a mom. 

Mother-to-be: It’s no secret we love buying little baby clothes for the soon-to-be mom, but for Mother’s Day, try to make sure you get something for her. Items such as body butters, lotions, or self-pampering baskets are a fabulous way for your soon-to-be mom to relax before the new baby. 

Mother-in-law: It’s always a good idea to surprise your mother-in-law with a great and whimsical gift on Mother’s Day. Try and be thoughtful and personalize it to her individual tastes. 

Step-Mom: Step-moms are an absolute treasure and sometimes can be overlooked. This Mother’s Day, pick out a gift that lets her know just how much you appreciate the woman she’s been in your life and how much you appreciate her. 

Ten Unique Traditions for Mother’s Day Around the Globe

USA: While most of the celebrations for Mother’s Day are quite similar, something unique to the United States is the addition of flower corsages. Wearing a pink corsage honors a living mother, whereas white honors a mother that is no longer with is. 

Mexico: One tradition we find to be really neat is found in Mexico. Along with a lavish lunch or dinner, children are known to put on a stage play reliving their mother’s life and remembering cherished memories! 

Peru: In Peru, Mother’s Day is celebrated for an entire week! During this time, families put together extravagant lunches and dinners, and local art museums and exhibitions give free entry to Moms! 

UK: One of the most honored traditions in the UK on MOther’s Day is children preparing breakfast in bed for their mom. Complete with homemade cards and fresh flowers, mom’s enjoy items like pancakes or a traditional Simnel Cake (Our recipe is below!)

Italy: While gifts are still appreciated and adored in Italy, such as Roses, or heart-shaped cakes, families in Italy prefer to spoil their mom with time. Meals are cooked by the family or by going out and giving mom a break from cooking! 

France: A French Mother’s Day can look very similar to other countries, but they do have one thing that makes them stand out, that we absolutely love. A tradition french children and families do to honor their moms is to get them a Flower Bouquet Cake! (A Cake in the shape of a flower bouquet) What a delicious and gorgeous gift! 

Germany: Flowers, Candy, and Cards are all welcome gifts when it comes to Mother’s Day in Germany. If you’re looking to take it a step further, it’s quite common to send your mom tickets for travel as well! 

Japan: Red and Pink carnations are the standard and beautiful gift for Japanese children to give their mothers. It’s also common for children to cook their mom traditional dishes such as Tamagoyaki (a rectangular omelet), or Chawanmushi ( a savory egg custard). 

India: In Urban India, Mother’s Day is celebrated similarly to that around the world. Children give their mom’s gifts of flowers, cards, and food. In rural India, it’s quite common for everyone to get a new outfit and dance in their streets with their mother to Garba Music! 

Ethiopia: Mother’s day in Ethiopia is celebrated for three days versus the traditional one in most other countries. Children are responsible for gathering the necessary ingredients for feasting and honoring their mothers. The traditional meal served is Ethiopian Hash which consists of Lamb, Vegetables, and Butter. 

UK Simnel Cake Recipe for Mom

Ingredients: 

  • ½ cup candied cherries
  • 3½ cups mixed dried fruit
  • 12 tablespoons soft unsalted butter
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ cup almond meal
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2½ pounds yellow marzipan to decorate
  • confectioners’ sugar for rolling
  • 1 tablespoon apricot jam (melted)
  • 1 egg white (optional)

Directions: 

  1. – All ingredients should be at room temperature before you start. Preheat your oven to 325°F. Butter and line your 8inch springform cake pan with brown baking parchment paper. 
  2. – Chop your cherries very finely and add them to a bowl with the rest of your dried fruit. 
  3. – Using a whisk and a bowl, or your mixer, mix your butter and sugar until smooth and add your lemon zest. 
  4. – In a separate bowl, measure the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and almond meal and stir to combine.
  5. – Add one egg to your wet bowl, followed by 2 tablespoons of the dry mixture. Do this for each egg. Pour in the remaining dry ingredients and your milk, and mix until smooth. 
  6. – Fold in your fruit. 
  7. – Sprinkle your surface with a little confectioners’ sugar, and then roll out about 14oz of the marzipan. Cut it into an 8-inch circle which will fit in the middle of the cake later. Spoon half of the fruit cake mixture into the cake tin, smoothing it down with a rubber spatula, and then lay the marzipan circle on top of it. Spoon the rest of the mixture into the tin on top of the marzipan circle and smooth the top again. Bake for half an hour and then turn the oven down to 300°F for another 1½ hours or until the cake has risen and is firm on top. Let it cool completely on a rack before you spring it open.
  8. – Carefully un-spring your cake from the pan and remove the paper lining. Spread your apricot jam around the cake and then cover with more marzipan. 
  9. – (Optional) With the remaining marzipan, roll out small balls to place on top of your cake. Evenly spread whipped egg white all over your cake and use a blowtorch to scorch it slightly.  

You’ve learned a ton about Mother’s Day around the globe, now what?