Universal Celebrations: Honoring Mothers Across the Globe
While countries might be separated by oceans and borders, there’s seemingly this desire that transcends languages and barriers to celebrate moms and mother figures. No matter where we are, the bond between a mother and child remains timeless and seemingly connects us all. As we take a deep dive into some of the traditional celebrations in Asia, Europe, and Africa, let’s remember the power of a mother's love! May we always find joy in expressing gratitude for the incredible mothers (biological or otherwise) who enrich our lives, not just on a given special day but every day.
Thailand celebrates Mother's Day on August 12th, the birthday of Queen Sirikit, the current king's mother. On this day, people across the country wear blue to honor the Queen Mother and show their love and respect for their own mom. Traditionally, moms are offered jasmine, called dok mali in Thai, which is viewed as a symbol of love and purity. The day is a public holiday, and many businesses and government offices are closed so that people can spend time with their families.
The concept of Mother’s Day has deep roots within the philosophical traditions of China. With an emphasis on filial piety, or respect for your parents, the People’s Republic of China has noted that every day is and should be a celebration of moms. However, the designated day in the country falls on the second day of the fourth month of the lunar calendar, though celebrations typically take place on the second Sunday in May.
Typically the holiday is celebrated with local festivities and traditional foods. Gifts and thanks are offered, and children typically gift their mamas flowers- traditionally, lilies, but carnations are often an alternative.
In France, Mother's Day, known as Fête des Mères, is celebrated on the last Sunday in May or the first Sunday in June. The tradition began in 1806 when Napoleon I dedicated a day to celebrating the moms of large families. And in 1929, the French government officially recognized the day. On Fête des Mères, every French municipality recognizes the local mothers while children often give their mothers flowers, chocolates, or other small gifts. Many families also enjoy a special meal together to celebrate the occasion!
In the United Kingdom, the concept of Mother's Day is rooted in the Christian tradition. Celebrated on the fourth Sunday, Lent Mother’s Day, or Mothering Day, was a day to honor and visit one's "mother church,” but has since evolved into a day to honor mothers and maternal figures. Children often give their mothers flowers, cards, or small gifts, and families may gather for a special meal together.
In Ethiopia, Mother's Day is part of a three-day festival called Antrosht! This celebration takes place in the fall and is a time for families to come together and feast on traditional dishes like injera and doro wat. During Antrosht, there is also a lot of dancing and singing, with many families wearing traditional clothing. On the festival's final day, children will often give their mothers small gifts to show their love and appreciation.
The earliest conception of a “Mother’s Day” was arguably rooted in ancient Egyptian traditions. Ancient Egyptians held an annual celebration honoring Isis, a goddess who embodied the qualities of an “ideal” mother and wife. Given her nature, the goddess was regarded as the mother of pharaohs and a symbol of motherhood.
After a long campaign by Mustafa Amin, Mother’s Day was officially recognized as an official holiday in 1956. Celebrated on March 21st, the first day of spring, Mother’s Day was meant to honor all maternal figures. Families often exchange flowers and gifts, and it's common for children to make handmade cards or crafts for their mothers. Some families also prepare special meals or go to eat at a restaurant to celebrate the day!
It’s so amazing to see how different countries honor their mothers. And it’s even more phenomenal to see that love for our mamas knows no boundaries or borders. From heartfelt gestures to lavish celebrations, from delicate flowers to homemade delicacies, we’ve witnessed this seemingly universal desire to honor and cherish the remarkable moms who’ve given us life and unconditional love.
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