Mother’s Day: Why is the holiday celebrated on different days in UK, US, Australia and Mexico?
On Sunday 19 March, people across the UK will celebrate Mother’s Day, also known as Mothering Sunday.
The day is dedicated to honouring mothers and falls on the fourth Sunday of the Christian festival of Lent.
It also comes exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday.
But other countries, including the US, Canada, Australia and Mexico, celebrate Mother’s Day on a different date to the UK.
This is unlike most other holidays, such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Halloween, which all fall on the same day all over the world.
Here’s why Mother’s Day is celebrated on a different day in the UK.
Why do we celebrate Mother’s Day in March in the UK?
In the UK, Mother’s Day takes place on the fourth Sunday of Lent and was traditionally a day on which Christians were encouraged to visit their “mother church”.
But over the years, the day has became better-associated with family reunions and children working away from home would acknowledge the day by returning home to pay a visit to their mothers.
Now it’s akin to the US celebration and its religious roots have been usurped by promotional campaigns encouraging children to shower their mothers with hampers, flowers, cards and gifts.
How did the US begin celebrating Mother’s Day in May?
The American Mother’s Day does not have religious connotations and was formally established by President Wilson in 1914 after a campaign was launched by an American woman from West Virginia named Anna Jarvis, whose own mother died in May.
It has since been held every year on the second Sunday of May in the US and several other countries, including Australia. This year, Mother’s Day falls on Sunday 14 May 2023.
Following the campaign, President Wilson formalised the date, declaring it a “public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country”.
However, Jarvis is thought to have disapproved of the subsequent commercialisation of the holiday, which she felt overtook its sentimental origins. She even said she regretted starting it and at one point, sought to abolish it.
When is Mother’s Day in Mexico?
Mexicans celebrate Mother’s Day slightly differently from the rest of the world, marking it via the “Día de las Madres” every year on 10 May.
The chosen date is thought to have come about in 1922 after a newspaper editor Rafael Alducin, wrote an article for Mexico City’s newspaper, El Excelsior, touting the benefits of Mother’s Day celebrations and encouraging others do take part in Mexico.
The US tradition had already begun to spread to the central American country, but the article was supported by a media campaign and the Catholic Church prompted Mexicans to select a date of their own to celebrate the day, which ended up being 10 May.
Like in other countries, people celebrate it by giving their mothers large bouquets of flowers and hosting family gatherings.