Sunday, May 8, 2011

Something Special For Mother's Day

by Kris Pitcher

Happy Mother's Day! As I was preparing for this special day, I did a little research. I was reminded of the history of Mother's Day, its origin, and its variations through history. What I was most interested in is how others celebrate. And that's what I chose to share with you. As you celebrate your special day, and the women in your life - enjoy knowing how others might be celebrating.

Other Countries & Regions Celebrating Mother's Day

  • Asia - Many Asian countries that celebrate Mother’s Day tend to draw heavily from the United States’ tradition.
  • Australia - The Australian Mother’s Day is similar to that of the United States, in which families visit each other and dinners. In addition to flowers, cards, jewelry and chocolates, it is customary for Australians to exchange perfume and teas on Mother’s Day.
  • Bahrain - In Bahrain Mother's Day is called Ruz-e Madar and it coincides with the first day of spring, observed as March 21, as are the Mother’s Day celebrations in Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates.
  • Belgium - In the Dutch-speaking parts of Belgium the day is called Moederdag.
  • Canada - Canada was one of the first nation’s to pick up the US version of Mother’s Day, making it a national holiday in 1909, one year later the United States did. The customs largely reflect those of its southern neighbor, although in Canada there seems to be an added emphasis on doing chores for the Mother and cooking her supper.
  • China - While China’s Mother’s Day distinguishes itself little from the United States’, it is interesting to note that most Chinese names begin with a character signifying Mother in honor of ones maternal heritage, helping explain the cultural compatibility of such a holiday, despite it’s having been imported from the West.
  • Denmark - In Denmark dining out to lunch is a popular Mother’s Day pastime. The day is calledMors Dag.
  • Ethiopia - Mother's Day in Ethiopia occurs in mid-fall when the rainy season ends. Called “Antrosht,” Ethiopians celebrate by making their way home when the weather clears for a large family meal and a three day long celebration. For the feast the children bring ingredients for a traditional hash recipe. The ingredients are divided along gender lines, with girls bringing butter, cheese, vegetables and spices while the boys bring a bull or lamb. The mother prepares the hash and hands it out to the family. After the meal a celebration takes place. The mothers and daughters ritually anoint themselves with butter on their faces and chests. They dance while the men sing songs in honor of family and heroes. This cycle of feasting and celebration lasts two or three days.
  • Finland - In Finland Mother’s Day is called aidipayiva. In the morning the family arises and takes a walk, picking the new flowers which bloom this time of year and making a bouquet for the mother. A particular flower called the valkovuokko is favored. This is a small white pungent flower. Back home Mom presented with a decorated bouquet, while also being served breakfast in bed.
  • Hong Kong - Hong Kong’s holiday, called mu quin jie, is notable for its custom to pay honor to the parent of the Mother if she is deceased.
  • Italy - The Italians celebrate La Festa della Mamma with a big feast and a cake made in the shape of a heart. Typically Italian schoolchildren will make something to bring home to their Mothers, and the family will take care of the chores for the day.
  • Norway - The Norwegian Morsdag takes place on February’s second Sunday.
  • Pakistan (and Saudi Arabia) - The May 10 celebration of Motherhood in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan is called Yaum ul-umm. It is inspired by and modeled after the western tradition of Mother's Day in which all mothers are honored and given gifts. Celebrations and feasts are customary.
  • Saudi Arabia - see Pakistan
  • Serbia - Also occurring two weeks before Christmas, the Serbian Mother’s Day tradition is quite similar to the Yugoslavian one. The Sunday prior to Mother’s Day is commemorated by a ritual in which parents tie up their young ones until they promise to behave themselves. Retribution comes a week later when children bind their mother until she offers them candy and other treats. But it doesn’t end on Mother’s Day. The following Sunday it’s the father’s turn to be tied up until he promises some pricey gifts.
  • Singapore - Singapore’s Mother’s Day places a heavy emphasis on marketing a wide variety of gifts including spa packages, vacuums, hampers, jewelry and other more traditional presents such as flowers.
  • South Africa - South Africa celebrates Mother’s Day on the first Sunday in May.
  • Sweden - Sweden’s Mother’s Day, which takes place on the last Sunday in May, has a strong charitable focus: the Swedish Red Cross sells small plastic flowers leading up to the holiday, and the proceeds raised are given to poor mothers and their children.
  • Thailand - Perhaps the most unique Asian Mother's Day holiday takes place in Thailand. The celebration coincides with the birthday of their beloved queen, Sirikit Kitayakara, who has reigned since 1950. Her birthday, and therefore Mother's Day, takes place on August 12.
  • Turkey - Mother’s Day in Turkey is heavily influenced by the traditions from the United States.
Learn more about this special day at

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