Mother’s Day Traditions Around the World

Each year, people worldwide set aside at least one day to honor their mothers with Mother’s Day traditions. Not only that, but they all carry a common theme – to help make their lives easier for at least one day out of the year. Here’s an overview of some of the traditions you can borrow while planning how you’ll make your mom feel special.

United Kingdom

Mothering Sunday is observed on the Fourth Sunday of Lent in the United Kingdom. Historically, it gave children who worked outside the home, as servants or apprentices, the opportunity to visit their mothers once a year. This time off was also a time for families to put aside their Lenten fasts and make this decadent simnel cake, a French-style tart. Try making this special dessert for your mother this year!


The Mother’s Day feast features yummy barbecued foods like this one in Brazil. Families begin the day by watching their children perform in their community or local church. Then, they meet at someone’s house to eat a big feast. This year, you can celebrate similarly by having a big barbecue in your mother’s honor.


In Germany, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May, the same as in the United States. It has its roots in World War II when the German government would issue special medals to moms who had children serving in the military. Today, children give their mothers small gifts and cards and help with household chores. Honor your mother this year by making her these German pancakes for breakfast!


Children draw pictures of their mothers in school as Mother’s Day approaches. Many school districts take this one step further and hold art contests devoted to finding the best portrait. Children help out with the household chores and prepare a simple meal from scratch, such as sushi. Try giving your mother a hand-drawn picture as a gift this year. You can even make her some sushi, just like they do in Japan.


In Ethiopia, Mother’s Day is tied directly to the harvest, which takes place in May. Moms are so important in Ethiopia that they’ve even made it a three-day celebration! The boys were responsible for bringing the meat during the feast, and the girls brought vegetables, spices, butter, and milk. Mom takes these ingredients and lovingly prepares them into a traditional Ethiopian hash. This beef hash recipe is pretty close to the Ethiopian version. Use this Ethiopian spiced butter to make the recipe more authentic.


Like most things in France, Mother’s Day celebrations usually occur at the dinner table. It’s common for families to gather for a dinner party or elaborate luncheon. Since it’s a special occasion, there are usually several courses. The meal concludes with special champagne toasts. For dessert, families usually serve Mom’s favorite. Try these homemade cream puffs, a French delicacy that is surprisingly simple to make.

Mother’s Day Traditions

How do you celebrate your mom on Mother’s Day? Will you be able to visit her on her special day? If not, consider starting a new tradition of sending her a gourmet Mother’s Day gift basket!


© Featured photo by klenova from Getty Images