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Mother’s Day Traditions

Flowers, gifts and a lovely lunch are the go-to treats for Mother’s Day festivities in the UK. But if you’re looking for some global inspiration, here are some alternative – and sometimes slightly wacky – Mother’s Day traditions from around the world.

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Poetry in France

Fête des mères in France is a tradition that dates back to the times of Napoleon, who wanted to establish a day to recognise the mothers of particularly large families. The tradition lapsed after a few decades, but was re-established during World War I, when mothers of four children or more were given medals! The modern day Mother’s Day in France doesn’t tend to involve medals and celebrating it is no longer dependent on the number of children a family has. However, children do tend to do something extra special for their mothers, such as write poems and do extra chores around the house.

Rope tying in Serbia

Mother’s Day traditions in Serbia take quite an unusual turn, as the day involves mothers being tied up with ropes until she provides her children with food, treats or gifts! Mother’s Day in Serbia is actually one of three consecutive Sundays in December celebrating the family unit. First of all, Children’s Day involves children being tied up and they must promise to be good so they can be unbound. On Mother’s Day the following weekend, mothers are bound up and must supply their children with sweets or treats in order to be untied. Father’s Day is on the final weekend, when fathers are bound up and must give Christmas gifts to his whole family to be unbound. We’re not quite sure this is a tradition that will take off in the UK!

Ten-day festival in India

Celebrating family over more than one day is also a tradition among the Hindu communities of India. The main Mother’s Day in India is celebrated on a Sunday each May, but Hindus also celebrate the goddess known as the Divine Mother, or Durga Puja, over a ten-day festival each October. This is a time of gift-giving and feasts not just to mothers, but to all friends and families within a community.

Morning songs in Mexico

Mothers in Mexico are totally revered on Mother’s Day, when they are showered with flowers, gifts and taken out for a special meal. However, the day typically starts with a rendition of a mariachi song being sung to mothers. Called Las Mananitas, which means ‘Little Morning’, and is only sung on birthdays and on Mother’s Day.

Family cooking in Ethiopia

The celebration of mothers in Ethiopia is known as the Antrosht festival, which coincides with the end of the rainy season. The improving weather means families are better able to travel for a get-together. While daughters bring cheese and vegetables with them, sons traditionally bring meat. Families then cook together while reminiscing over family stories.

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