Unlike other countries in Europe, the UK date for Mother’s Day changes each year (still no excuse for forgetting though!) and takes place on the fourth Sunday of Lent.
This got me thinking about other differences between the way the UK and our favourite holiday destinations celebrate mums. Turns out everywhere has their own traditions – read on to get a glimpse into Mother’s Day in Spain, Italy and France.
Día de la Madre, Spain
When? First Sunday of May
History of celebrations
The roots of Mother’s Day in Spain, known as Día de la Madre, lie strongly with the Catholic church. For them there is no greater symbol of motherhood than the Virgin Mary, and as a deeply religious Catholic country, Spain traditionally celebrated Mother’s Day on the same day as the church chose to recognise the miracle of the Immaculate conception of Jesus: 8th December.
This was tradition for more than 300 years until 1965 when Mother’s Day became a separate celebration and is now commemorated on the first Sunday in May. Despite the change in dates, Spaniards still pay tribute to the Virgin Mary on Día de la Madre with religious celebrations across the country.
Festa della Mamma, Italy
When? Second Sunday of May
For many Italian mothers, Festa della Mamma will begin with breakfast in bed, made by her children. She’ll enjoy fresh pastries and coffee before a trip to church later in the morning.
Mother’s Day in Italy is centred on activities that bring the family – and food – together, so next up is a large lunch, finished with a heart-shaped cheesecake and liqueur coffee. Unlike most family feasts, this won’t be prepared by mamma; in most Italian households, it’s tradition that she’s not allowed to do any housework on Mother’s Day.
Fresh flowers, usually roses, are bought as gifts and children are enocouraged to write poems as a way of showing appreciation.
Fête des Mères, France
When? Last Sunday of May
Apparently Napoleon was the first to declare Fête des Mères as a holiday in France, but it wasn’t until 1929 that Mother’s Day became an established tradition, and another 20 years before it was decreed by law on May 24th 1950 to be celebrated on the last Sunday in May.
The French place less focus on religious traditions, with typical Mother’s Day celebrations including a family dinner and mum being honoured with a cake that resembles a bouquet of flowers.
Have you ever spent Mother’s Day abroad? If you were to spend it on a family holiday to Europe, where would you choose and why? Share with us in the comments below or get in touch on Facebook.