Mother’s Days Around the World

Medieval, dinner, table, people, dogCelebrations honoring mothers happen worldwide. While their histories and traditions vary widely, their sentiments are similar: giving thanks to mothers and paying respect to the women who carry out this most important station in all of our lives.

Mothering Sunday in Britain

Although it’s often called Mother’s Day, Mothering Sunday has nothing to do with the American version of the holiday. In medieval times, it was the one day of the year that servants—namely daughters who had gone off to be domestic servants—were allowed to travel to their “mother church.”

In modern times, Mothering Sunday still happens on the fourth Sunday of the Christian festival of Lent, but it has become more of a day of flowers, chocolates, and gifts for mum.


Man, carrying, woman, fountain, Napal

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Mata Tirtha Aunsi in Nepal

Celebrated on the new moon of the Baishak calendar—April 29, 2014, and next on February 8, 2015—Mata Tirtha Aunsi is a day when Nepali people of all faiths present their mothers with favorite foods and gifts in recognition of their love and support through the year.

People who live in or near Kathmandu, however, take celebrating mother to another and very lovely level. On this day they travel to Matatirtha, just south of the city, where two pools—the larger for bathing and prayer, the smaller a place where people hope to see their deceased mother’s face—are awash with people honoring mothers since passed.



Old, woman, smiling, headdress, IndonesiaHari Ibu in Indonesia

December 22 is when Indonesians celebrate their mothers. The date was chosen to pay tribute to the 1928 resolution set forth by the first Indonesian Women’s Congress. This historic measure called for improvements in education for women, access to information upon marriage, and divorce rights. The resolution was a result of decades of feminist activism inspired by women who, in the nineteenth century, resisted colonialism and fought for the rights of women.

Like in other countries, the initial sentiments of the day have shifted to honoring women and mothers for their dedication to their families and loved ones. Traditions of the day include wearing the national dress, and letting mom off the hook when it comes to her regular household duties.


Smiling, woman, shall, ring, EthiopiaAntrosht in Ethiopia

There’s no set date for Ethiopia’s celebration of mothers; rather, it’s a matter of simply waiting for the October and November rains to let up. When the weather’s favorable, people travel home to have a three-day feast with family. Girls traditionally bring dairy products and vegetables while boys bring meat for the feast. Although mom doesn’t get time off from her cooking duties, there’s a lot of fun to be had during this annual event.



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