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Mother’s Day across the globe

Every brand loves a seasonal spike in sales that can be carefully planned for, marketed and executed. As an annual holiday that nearly every country observes, Mother’s Day is just such an opportunity. 

But, from February to December, different countries celebrate this on different dates and in different ways. If your brand wants a piece of the action, here’s our quick guide to the what, when and where of Mother’s Day around the world.

Flowers, chocolates and big bucks

Of course, to many it seems fitting that we should dedicate a day to give thanks to those who take on the hardest, most time-consuming and undoubtedly the most important job in the world: being a mother.

For others, Mother’s Day is just another commercialised “Hallmark Holiday”, encouraging us to express our love and affection through the power of our debit and credit cards. 

Whichever side of the maternal appreciation fence you sit on, there’s no doubt that Mother’s Day is big business around the world. In the US, according to the National Retail Federation, Mother’s Day spending was expected to reach a colossal $25 billion in 2019. In the UK, meanwhile, spending was predicted to reach a high of £1.6 billion in 2019.

That’s a lot of flowers and chocolates. And wine, designer bags, boutique shoes, special dinners, spa breaks, greeting cards, dinners out, make-up, toiletries and so on. For any brand who’d like a piece of the consumer spending pie, we suggest you take a look through our calendar of Mother’s Day celebrations across the continents.

The second Sunday of February

With its associations of life and rebirth, Spring (in the Western world) has traditionally been the most common season in which to hold Mother’s Day celebrations.

However, in the calendar year, Norway gets in first, marking Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of February. Mittens and hot chocolate might make the perfect present in the midst of the Scandinavian winter. 

8th March

In Eastern and Central Europe, many countries celebrate Mother’s Day on 8th March, which is also International Women’s Day. Territories that mark this date in the diary for their mums include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Moldavia, Russia and Romania. Outside of Europe, other countries which celebrate Mother’s Day on this day also include Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Laos and Vietnam.

21stMarch

In the Arab world, many countries celebrate Mother’s Day on 21st March, which is also the Spring Equinox. First introduced in Egypt in 1956, this annual celebration is now also observed on this date in countries including Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Lebanon, Qatar and Syria.

The fourth Sunday in Lent

In the UK, the fourth Sunday in Lent (a six-week season observed by many Christian traditions leading up to Easter) is known as Mothering Sunday. Dating back to the 16thcentury, tradition originally dictated that religious observers would visit their “mother” church on this date. The day has now transitioned into a secular celebration of mothers which is also observed in Ireland and Nigeria.

The first Sunday in May 

In Spain, “Día de la Madre” (Mother’s Day) was originally observed on Virgin’s Day, on which Catholics honour the mother of Christ on 8thDecember. However, since 1965, this has been celebrated on the first Sunday in May, a tradition which is also observed in countries including Angola, Hungary, Portugal, Lithuania and Portugal.

The second Sunday in May

In the US, and many other countries around the world, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. It was first established in 1908 in West Virginia by a woman named Anna Jarvis, who campaigned for a day celebrating motherhood in honour of her own late mother.

 By 1914, the President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation that designated the second Sunday in May as a day to celebrate mothers across all of the US. This date is now the most commonly observed Mother’s Day around the world, see below for details.

Some other countries that celebrate Mother’s Day on second Sunday in May (see full list here) include: Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Cambodia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

The last Sunday of May

In France, Mother’s Day is known as la Fête des Mères, a state-recognised holiday which is held on the last Sunday in May. This date is also observed in Sweden and a host of former French colonies including Senegal, Cameroon, Algeria, Morocco and Mali. However, it should be noted, if the Christian holy day of Pentecost (celebrated 50 days after Easter) falls on the last Sunday in May, Fête des Mères moves to the first Sunday in June.

12th August

In Thailand, 12th August is a national celebration of the birthday of Queen Sirikit. As the mother of the nation, the day has also become the Mother’s Day in which mothers of every Thai household are honoured by their offspring.  

15th August

In Costa Rica, Mother’s Day is always held on 15th August. The date derives from the holy day known as Assumption Day in the Catholic tradition, which marks the moment in which Virgin Mary passed into heaven. The dual celebration is a big deal in Costa Rica, a day on which most schools and businesses are closed.

22nd December 

Last in the calendar year but definitely not least, Indonesia celebrates Mother’s Day on 22nd December. It originates from the date on which the first Indonesian Women’s Congress gathered in 1928 and was officially designated as a day to honour all women by the Indonesian President in 1953.

And finally…

Whether it’s a bunch of flowers or giving her a call to tell her you love her, we all know it’s worth the effort to show your appreciation on Mother’s Day.

For businesses working across multiple markets, Mother’s Day also shows that it always pays to have in-country knowledge on the cultural traditions and timetables of different markets. 

At Alpha Lifestyle, we help some of the biggest brands in the world connect with their target markets in the right ways at the right times. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you, please contact us at lifestyle@thisisalpha.com