For all the cultural differences among the 7.5 billion people who call this fine world home, there is one common ground: our love for mom. No matter what part of the world we inhabit, we’re most likely celebrating our mothers this May. Musement takes a look at how six countries pay homage to their matriarchs.
April showers bring May flowers, so it’s fitting that the month marking the burgeoning of spring blossoms is when we pay tribute to the women whose love, guidance and rearing has helped us bloom: our mothers. On Mother’s Day, we celebrate all the female figures— godmothers, grandmothers and aunts —who have influenced us profoundly.
Every country has a matriarch-dedicated day, which usually falls in May, though a handful of countries, such as Russia, celebrate mom on International Women’s Day (8 March). Most of the world opts for the second Sunday of the month, including the U.S., Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Malaysia, China and Brazil, while the festivities in France and Sweden occur on the last Sunday and Spain on the first.
It should come as no surprise that different countries have different ways of ensuring that mom feels pampered and extra appreciated on her special day. Here are six interesting Mother’s Day anecdotes and traditions from around the globe.
France, last Sunday
Mother’s Day dates as far back to Napoleon but became aggrandized in the 1950s to help repopulate the country after the war, going so far as to reward mothers with medals to encourage procreation. Mothers of six received a bronze and seven garnered a silver while mothers of eight or more went home with the gold. Nowadays, it’s celebrated more traditionally with cards, gifts and special arrangements.
Japan, second Sunday
Children gift their mothers red carnations and roses as well as prepare homemade meals. There’s also an art contest by which youngsters compose a drawing depicting themselves with their mother; the winning pictures comprise a special exhibit that goes on a national tour.
Mexico, second Sunday
In Mexico they pull out all the stops for their madre. Flowers go without saying but the day-long festivities include music, good times and a serenading session by mariachi singers.
Philippines, second Sunday
Families tend to celebrate at home with a bit of role play. Children take on the household chores and prepare the day’s meals, also gifting mom with handmade gifts.
Sweden, last Sunday
In honor of their mammor, Swedish children sell small plastic flowers and use the money earned to pay for a small trip with their mothers. Flowers coupled with breakfast in bed and/or treating mom to a restaurant meal are the norm.
Pakistan, second Sunday
In addition to the typical gift giving, TV stations take it one step further and channel surfers will stumble upon broadcast after broadcast of specially dedicated Mother’s day themed programming.