Daughter and father kissing mother's cheeks.

6 Mother’s Day Traditions Around the World That’ll Make You Step up Your Game This Sunday

Kids and husbands, take note. From double-digit day festivals to serenades, many countries partake in thoughtful Mother’s Day traditions. You might want to “wow” the mothers in your life with one of them this Sunday.

1. A 3-Day Celebration in Ethiopia

A plate of traditional Ethiopian food.
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Ethiopians traditionally celebrate Mother’s Day to mark the end of their rainy season. The mid-September event involves a 3-day antrosht (feast). During this time, food, dancing, and singing are abundant.

Traditions Mixed With Modernity

Man playing drums.
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Although antrosht was originally a time when women would prepare a feast to celebrate mothers and the end of the rainy season, nowadays, many Ethiopians celebrate Mother’s Day according to the U.S. calendar date.

Can you imagine what a surprise it would be to the woman in your life to put on two Mother’s Day celebrations for her each year?

2. Jasmines Are the New Rose in Thailand

Group of jasmine flowers.
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Thai men shower their mothers and wives with gifts of jasmine flowers on August 12th every year. Thailand chose August 12th as Mother’s Day in honor of Queen Sirikit’s birthday. Time will tell if this date remains after the 90-year-old queen passes.

Food, Oh My!

Street vendor in Thailand.
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Mother’s Day is an experience you won’t want to miss if you’re lucky enough to be in Thailand on April 12th. Ceremonies and parades honoring mothers abound. Vendors fill the streets in droves selling sweet treats, noodles, and rice dishes.

3. The Divine Mother in India

Woman with henna tatoo.
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Hindus in India celebrate a 10-day festival in October called Durga Puja. The Durga Puja, which translates to “Divine Mother” in English, celebrates the Hindu goddess Durga. In addition to the Hindu version of Mother’s Day, Indians celebrate their mothers on the American holiday too.

Ultimate Female Strength

A statue of the goddess Durga in India.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Durga represents female strength, and they honor her as such during Durga Puja. Believers see her as a feminine prowess with immense amounts of wisdom and power.

Perhaps you should take the mother in your life to celebrate an early 2024 Mother’s Day in India this October!

4. (Almost) Too Pretty to Eat in Italy

Heart-shaped cake.
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Sweets and treats are abundant in Italy on Mother’s Day, and children gifting a heart-shaped cake to their mother is popular. Italy shares the same Mother’s Day date as the U.S.

Do Nothing, Mother

Little girl cleaning.
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As with American children and husbands, Italian families often urge their mothers to rest for the day. You’ll encounter children and husbands doing the house chores. But you can’t always expect them to cook; the restaurant industry makes a killing on Mother’s Day.

5. Honoring Beyond Motherhood Duty in Bolivia

Woman holding a llama.
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Mother’s Day in Bolivia occurs on May 27th each year, regardless of the day of the week. This date commemorates when Bolivian women came together to fight the Spanish army for independence after so many of their sons and husbands had died.

Grab the Broom

Bolivian traditional attire.
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Families in Bolivia shower the mothers in their lives on Mother’s Day with love by following many of the same traditions in the U.S.—cleaning, cooking, and doting are all part of the package. The difference is that the families do all this while also remembering the “heroines of Coronilla,” reinforcing the sentiment of a mother’s strength.

6. The Bells and Whistles in Mexico

Mexican man playing a guitar.
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There’s no sleeping in for a Mexican woman’s husband and children on Mother’s Day. The festivities, which occur on May 10th each year, often begin in the morning with serenades or a mariachi band. There’s plenty of food and drinks too.

One for Two

Mexican street dancers.
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Many people living near U.S. border crossings frequently travel between Mexico and the States. So, some lucky Mexican and American mothers take advantage of Mexico’s Mother’s Day on May 10th and America’s Mother’s Day shortly before or after that date. Now that’s a celebration!

Did You Know?

Shocked man.
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Historians have traced Mother’s Day celebrations to ancient Greece and Rome. Their festivities looked different than yours will on Sunday. Festivals were held to honor the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele. And, of course, sons and daughters didn’t have phones to give their long-distance moms a ring.

It Took Awhile to Get to Where We Are

Hands from different nationalities.
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Mother’s Day in the United States originated in the 19th century when activist Ann Reeves Jarvis pulled women together to teach them about the best practices known at that time for giving proper care to their children.

In 1870, abolitionist Julia Ward Howe wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” urging women to advocate for world peace. Howe’s campaign originally wanted Mother’s Day to occur on June 2nd.

Be Mindful This Sunday

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Mother’s Day is a joyful time for millions of women around the globe. But it can be emotionally painful for others.

Mothers have had miscarriages, lost children during childbirth, and have had to bury their children. There are also women who want to become pregnant but are having trouble, women who know they’ll never be able to carry a baby, and women waiting a painstakingly long time to adopt.

The Bottom Line?

Son giving roses to his mom.
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Go all out celebrating Mother’s Day this Sunday. The mothers in your life deserve it. But be mindful when speaking with women you know who want to have children but can’t.

As author Clare Pooley puts it, “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”

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This article was produced and syndicated by A Piece of Travel.

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