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When Does the UK Celebrate Mother’s Day and How Is It Celebrated Elsewhere


Mothering Sunday is a day dedicated to all mums and when we honour the bond we have with them and show her how much she means to us. It is also a great way of showing the gratitude you feel and to be thankful for the wonderful woman in your life.

Our mums are like superwomen with a long list of tasks that they do from looking after their families, juggling working, helping with homework, being a taxi for teenagers and then helping organise their children's weddings, such as helping to find engagement party venues.  No wonder they need a rest!

The date of Mother Sunday varies each year in the UK.

In 2018, the day fell on Sunday, March 11. However, in 2019, it will be on March 31 and March 22 in 2020. In 2021, Mothering Sunday will be celebrated on March 14.

While it is important to know the date of Mothering Sunday, it is important to know that there is more to this than just buying some expensive presents for your mother or taking her out to lunch at a local venue.  To better understand the day you need to know a bit about its history.

Mothering Sunday Or Mother’s Day?

Mothering Sunday is the name traditionally given to the fourth Sunday of Lent. This will be 3 weeks before Easter and was celebrated by Christians in Europe. This was a day when mothers would be showered with gifts.

Mother’s Day is a more modern name and is now the most commonly used term for the day. However, the basis of the day has remained the same with only the name changing.

Why We Celebrate Mother’s Day?

The basis of Mothering Sunday comes from the 16th century when there was a practice of returning to the mother church for the service on the fourth Sunday of Lent. This mother church was the main church in the parish or diocese.

This was also a day when servants were given a day off in order to visit their mother church and to visit their families. Traditionally, people would collect flowers on their way home and this would be displayed in the church or given to their parents.

Over time, the religious basis of the day was overshadowed by the more general gift-giving of the day. In the 1920s, Mother’s Day fell out of favour. The revival of the day comes from efforts in the US and the commercialisation of holidays.

What About Other Countries?

While we know what happens in the UK, there are variations on Mother’s Day across the world.


In France, Mother’s Day is very similar to the US, but this similarity dates back to the 1950s. Before this time, there were a few different days which were used to celebrate women who had given birth to a large number of children following the First World War. After WWII, the government declared the last Sunday of May as the official Mother’s Day, unless this date conflicted with Pentecost. If this was the case, Mother’s Day would move to the first Sunday of June, but regardless of the date, the traditional gift is a flower-shaped cake.


Mother’s Day became popular in Japan after WWII and is celebrated on the second Sunday of May. The gifts which are given will include pink or red carnations which symbolise purity and sweetness. Children will often draw pictures of their mothers and give this to them after preparing food that their mothers’ have taught them.


Mother’s Day is on the last Sunday of May in Sweden and is not very different from the US version. Breakfast in bed and homemade cards are a staple of the day. The primary difference is that the Swedish Red Cross will collect money through the sale of plastic red flowers. The collection will go to mothers and children in need.


In Mexico, Mother’s Day is not something to be taken lightly. The date is fixed on May 10 and the country will practically shut down on the day. Only restaurants will be open. The lunches on this day can run for up to 5 hours and the holiday generates approximately 200,000 extra waiter jobs each year.

In Mexico, the mother is an institution and Mexicans like to party. The mother is usually the one that works for the family through cooking and cleaning so each year there is one day when they are treated instead.