Mother’s Day around the world

by Charlotte.Barnes on May 13, 2012

Although for us in the UK Mothering Sunday whizzed past in March, there’s also International Mother’s Day to come. This year it falls on Sunday May 13th.

It started off in America with Anna Jarvis. She made Mother’s Day official after her own mother campaigned for it for so long. It is now a day to celebrate mothers all around the world. And don’t forget that if you want to say thank you to someone in America then you can send flowers to the USA.

Mother’s Day in the US has no connection to our own Mothering Sunday. Early American settlers from England dropped the idea of Mother’s Day, most likely because they wanted to pursue a more conservative Christian life and the day wasn’t considered a holy enough festival to continue.

In 1870 Julia Ward Howe decided to unite mothers to stop their sons killing one another in the American Civil War. She called it an international day to celebrate peace and motherhood and she began to fund celebrations on the day, but as soon as she stopped giving money to Mother’s Day it died out.

Then came along Anna Reeves Jarvis from a women’s group in West Virginia. The group worked to reunite families pulled apart by the war. When Anna Reeves Jarvis died it was her daughter who took on the campaign and she made International Mother’s Day what it is now.


The reason carnations are so popular on Mother’s Day is because they were Anna Reeves Jarvis’ favourite flower. When her daughter was creating the day she decided that carnations would play a big part.

Because America is such a big influence, it wasn’t long before other countries started taking on Mother’s Day. Some did so for commercial reasons; others because the idea fit in with their culture and beliefs.

Here ‘s how some other countries celebrate Mother’s Day.


Mother’s Day in Australia is celebrated in a very similar way to America. There is a tradition of wearing a carnation on the day. A red carnation signifies a person’s mother is living, while a white one is to remember.

Chrysanthemums are also very popular as they end in ‘mum’ and are easy to get during the autumn when Mother’s Day falls.


Mother’s Day is a relatively new holiday in India. In the 10 years since it arrived there it’s been widely accepted. As with most countries, it is a time for mothers to be celebrated and the reason the day was accepted so quickly is because of how important mothers are to Indian society.

Cards are most often given, but in the big cities there are a lot of products aimed at women specifically for Mother’s Day. Cooking a family meal seems to be the most popular gift.


Mother’s Day in Mexico is celebrated on the fixed day of May 10th. It’s a colourful affair with children thanking their mothers for bringing them up. They arrive at their mother’s house on the evening of the 9th May, then in the morning everyone goes to a special mass at church where an orchestra will play ‘las mañanitas’. Traditional food is also distributed to all mothers in attendance.

South Africa

In South Africa young children tend to make handmade gifts, while grown-up children buy theirs. It’s not just mothers who are celebrated on Mother’s Day in South Africa, though, but grandmothers and other maternal figures too.


It was US soldiers fighting in France during the First World War that popularised Mother’s Day here. As part of efforts to up the birthrate in France, medals were given to the mothers of large families.


In China Mother’s Day is time to help poor mothers living in the less wealthy parts of the country. Carnations are a very popular gift, but the Chinese Mothers’ Festival Promotion Society wants to replace them with lilies. This is because, in times past, lilies were planted by mothers when their children left home.

How do you celebrate Mother’s Day? Do let us know.

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Charlotte Barnes

Post category: Flowers, Knowledge, Lilies, Mother's Day, Occasions, Other Flowers  

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05.13.12 at 1:26 pm

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