Why do Americans call mothers mother

Mother's Day: From its creation to the present

Whether mum, mum, mummy or mum - every year on the second Sunday in May we celebrate Mother's Day. There are many ways to show your mother how much you love her and range from flowers to handicrafts, pictures or baked goods, to breakfast in bed, to name a few examples. In this context, we were interested in further questions: How long has Mother's Day existed? What is its origin? And how is it actually celebrated in other countries? We have made a small tour for you and found the answers to these and other questions.

Mother's Day: ancient origins and historical development

Mother's Day does not have its origin, as one might suspect given today's commercialization, in retail or the advertising industry. Rather, it goes back to antiquity and thus to the ancient Greeks, who cultivated the mother cult with a festival in honor of Rhea, the mother of Zeus.

Mother's Day in its current form was shaped by the British and American women's movements. In 1865 the American Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis founded a mother's movement called Mothers Friendships Day. Here mothers were able to exchange ideas on current issues. Julia Ward Howe launched a Mothers Day Initiative “peace and motherhood” in 1870 with the aim of creating awareness that sons should no longer fall victim to wars.

Various women's movements and associations have emerged in Europe since the 1960s. In addition to the peace projects and more women's rights, they also campaigned for better educational opportunities for girls. The International Women's Council, founded in the 1890s, advocated more recognition for mothers.

The daughter of Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis, the Methodist Anna Marie Jarvis, is considered to be the creator of today's Mother's Day. On May 12, 1907, she held a Memorial Mothers Day meeting in Grafton, West Virginia, USA - the day fell on the Sunday after the second anniversary of her mother's death. The next year there was also a devotion dedicated to the mothers.

A tradition quickly developed from this and Anna Marie Jarvis made it her goal to create an official Mother's Day. She started an initiative to introduce an official holiday in honor of the mothers and wrote letters to politicians, business people, clergy and women's associations. In 1909, Mother's Day was celebrated in 45 states in the USA. On May 8, 1914, the US Congress passed the so-called "Joint Resolution Designating the Second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day" and so Mother’s Day was celebrated as a national holiday for the first time in 1914.

With the increasing spread and commercialization of Mother's Day, however, its founder turned away from the movement. She fought unsuccessfully for the holiday to be abolished.

Internationalization: The "Mother's Day Institution" is popular all over the world

The idea of ​​honoring mothers with a special day also gained more and more supporters internationally. The concept of Mother's Day was quickly adopted in Great Britain and spread from there to Switzerland (1917), Finland and Norway (1918), Sweden (1919) and Austria (1924).

In the years 1922/1923 the movement also reached Germany: Here posters with the words “Honor the Mother” adorned the shop windows and under the leadership of the Association of German Flower Shop Owners, this day was celebrated as the “Day of Flower Wishes”. The first German Mother's Day took place on May 13, 1923. Of course, such a holiday also offered various groups and political ideologies an opportunity to link it to their own goals and attitudes. For example, the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Volksgesundung started promoting Mother's Day in 1926 and set it as an official holiday.

In the GDR, on the other hand, International Women's Day was celebrated on March 8th - and Mother's Day was waived.

In post-war Germany, the Federal Republic of Germany celebrated its first Mother's Day in 1950. Since then, this day has enjoyed a special status - even though it is not a public holiday but is based on agreements made by business associations: flower shops, for example, are generally allowed to remain open on this day.

Flowers: the most popular gift for Mother's Day

Flowers are probably the most common present on Mother's Day. We have listed the "best sellers" and their symbolism for you:

  • Roses: The classic among flowers and the most popular cut flower throughout the year. A suitable color for Mother's Day is e.g. orange - the color of warmth, happiness and hope. Yellow is also a good choice. Yellow roses stand for recognition, gratitude and joy.
  • Orchids: These flowers look elegant, noble and symbolize admiration and wisdom.
  • Gerbera: If you choose this in yellow or a light spring color, you express affection and friends with it.
  • Tulips: In a sunny yellow they awaken spring fever, joie de vivre and happiness. If you choose them in white, they stand for eternal love - in this case between mother and child.
  • Daisies: Sometimes the good is so close - naturalness, happiness and gratitude.
  • Lilies: The beautiful among flowers, because it stands for exactly that: beauty, purity, respect and love.

Mother's Day in a country comparison: When is it celebrated and where?


Germany, Denmark, Italy (“Festa della Mamma”), Greece, Belgium, Turkey, Australia, Brazil, China, South Africa, Singapore, Japan, Philippines, USA (“Mothers Day”), Canada

2nd Sunday in May

On this day we spend time with our mothers and give them flowers or other gifts.
In Greece, however, the entire house is decorated with flowers and a traditional honey cake is often baked.
In Japan, red carnations are given away as a symbol of gratitude and pure love. The mothers are also massaged or given vouchers for spa visits. In addition, the children take over the household on this day.

France ("Fete de la Mères"), Dominican Republic, Morocco, Mauritius

Last Sunday in May

Flowers are also often given away in France. Handcrafted gifts or a cake in the form of a bouquet of flowers are also popular presents.

Guatemala and Mexico ("Dia de la Madre")

10th of May

Here the mothers are worshiped by the whole family with songs or a typical Mexican “mariachi band”. The greeting card is one of the most popular Mother's Day gifts.


May 26

Here, too, there are mostly flowers, confectionery or homemade items.

Ireland and Great Britain

4th Sunday before Easter (Lent Sunday) 


2nd Sunday in February 


Similar in Bulgaria and Bosnia

Officially the last Sunday in November - only International Women's Day on March 8th is celebrated hereOn March 8th, the day off is best enjoyed in the company of women.

Spain, Lithuania, Portugal

1st Sunday in May

In Spain, Mother's Day is often celebrated with the whole family. On this special day, the mothers are often presented with flowers and chocolates.


30th day of the month Schevat in the Jewish calendar - with us between mid and late February (anniversary of Henrietta Szold's death)

Here Mother's Day has developed into a "family day". It is not just love for the mother that is celebrated, but love within the entire family.


December 22

In Indonesia, the role of women in the family and in the state is paramount. There are not only gifts and flowers from the children, but also surprise parties and cooking competitions. These can be organized privately or by the state.


On the birthday of the daughter of the Prophet Mohammed - Fatima-Zehra

20th day of the Arab Mona Jamadi Al Thani

Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon

March 21st = beginning of spring 


At the end of the rainy season - with us in autumn 


June 1st

Mother-child day: This is primarily about the relationship between mother and child


August 12 - the same day as Queen Sirikit's birthday

The celebrations here are basically the same as ours. But there are also public events.

South Korea and Albania

May 08

The focus here is not only on Mother's Day, a parents' day is celebrated here, on which the children spend time with their parents.


Mother's Day as an expression of gratitude and family awareness

Even if Mother's Day is celebrated differently from country to country and from family to family, it is mainly about expressing gratitude and family awareness. The fact that families can fundamentally benefit from the strengthening of this community is currently shown in the worldwide state of emergency that has been going on for weeks, in which social contacts concentrate on close family life. With this in mind, we wish everyone stamina for the coming weeks - and a happy mother / family day!

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