ETHIOPIA: At the end of the fall rainy season, a three-day Antrosht festival commences dedicated to mothers. When the weather clears up and the skies empty of rain, family members come home to celebrate with a large feast. Daughters traditionally bring vegetables, butter, spices and cheese, while the sons bring meat of various types, including lamb or bull. These will be included in a traditional hash recipe and singing and dancing ensues.
INDIA: Hindus in India celebrate the goddess Durga, or Divine Mother, during a 10-day festival called Durga Puja in October. Durga Puja celebrates the triumph of good over evil and is earmarked by gifts given to friends and family, as well as feasts and celebrations.
PERU: The indigenous Andean population celebrates the gifts of Mother Earth, or Pachamama, in early August. Pachamama is an ancient mythological goddess beloved by many indigenous Andean populations. Mythology cites Pachamama as the cause of earthquakes and bringer of fertility. Her special worship day is called Martes de Challa.
GERMANY: Muttertag takes place on the second Sunday in May – unless it falls on Pentecost, in which case it occurs on the first Sunday of the month. The giving of Mother’s Day cards is extremely popular. During WWII, Mother’s Day took on political significance as the day to acknowledge women for producing children for the Vaterland, or Fatherland. Medals were awarded in gold, silver or bronze, based upon how many children were in the household.
FORMER YUGOSLAVIA: Mother’s Day takes place in December and is part of a series of holidays including Children’s Day and Father’s Day. All three holidays take place on consecutive Sundays and require lots of rope! On Children’s Day, children are tied up and must agree to behave before they are unbound. On Mother’s Day, it is the mother’s turn to be tied up, where she will remain until she supplies tasty treats and small gifts to her children. Finally it is father’s turn. The dads are tied up with rope until they give their families Christmas gifts.
JAPAN: Mother’s day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May in Japan. The celebration was started on the Empress Kojun’s birthday in 1931 and in 1949 it was decided that the holiday should be calibrated with mother’s day in America. On the day children will draw pictures of their mother’s in school, help with the chores and cooking dinner and give gifts of carnation flowers which symbolise the strength of mothers.
MEXICO: Mother’s day is a big deal in Mexico. While the day may involve treating mum to dinner and flowers, the day will begin with a morning serenade of the song “Las Mananitas” from mariachi singers:“Awaken, my dear, awaken/ and see that the day has dawned/ now the little birds are singing/ and the moon has set.”
THAILAND: In Thailand mother’s day is celebrated on August 12, which also marks the birthday of the esteemed Queen Sirikit. Ceremonies and parades on the day mark both occasions and gifts will include the jasmine flower.
ITALY: Mother’s day in Italy is celebrated with a cake made in the shape of a heart and a family feast. Children will also give their mother’s gifts and help with the housework.
BOLIVIA: Mother’s day has particular significance in Bolivia. In the 19th century, during the country’s struggle for independence from Spain many lives – particularly of men – were lost. One group of women refused to stand by and watched and instead banded together to fight the Spanish army. Their contributions to the war became a legacy that celebrates the “heroines of Coronilla” on Mother’s day.