Mother’s Day Fun Facts

Mother’s Day will be celebrated in many countries this Sunday. Are you doing any Mother’s Day lessons or activities in class? Most teachers will want to discuss this holiday with their students, so I thought I would blog about some fun, interesting Mother’s Day facts that you can share with your class this week!

What are some interesting Mother’s Day customs around the world?

  • Children in many countries give their mothers flowers (especially roses and carnations) on Mother’s Day. Some children buy gifts for their moms such as chocolates or jewelry.
  • Children in the US and Canada often give their mothers breakfast in bed.
  • In Spain and Portugal, children often give their mothers white roses.
  • Mother’s Day celebrations last two to three days in Ethiopia.
  • More cards are sent for Mother’s Day in Mexico than any other occasion.
  • Children often give their moms a cake decorated with flowers in France.
  • In Serbia, children tie up their mom’s feet and only release her when she gives them gifts.
  • Some children in Japan enter a drawing of their mothers in an art contest, and the winning drawings travel around the world in an exhibit.

What is the origin of Mother’s Day?

  • Mother’s Day dates back to Ancient Greece, where celebrations for the Greek goddess Rhea (the goddess of fertility and motherhood) took place in the spring.
  • In 1908, Anna Jarvis convinced her West Virginia town to hold a celebration for all mothers on May 10 (the anniversary of her mother’s death). This was the first Mother’s Day celebration in the US.
  • In 1914, the US president declared Mother’s Day a national holiday that would be held every year on the second Sunday of May.

When is Mother’s Day celebrated around the world?

  • On May 10: Bahrain, El Salvador, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore
  • On the second Sunday in May: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Japan, Turkey, United States
  • On other days: Argentina (second Sunday in October), Ethiopia (whenever the rainy season ends), France (last Sunday in May), Lebanon (first day of spring), Norway (second Sunday in February), Portugal (first Sunday in May), Russia (on International Women’s Day in early March), Serbia (second Sunday before Christmas), Spain (first Sunday in May), United Arab Emirates (March 21).

~ Info adapted from ESL Library’s Mother’s Day lesson plan (our sister site for teen and adult learners of English).

Need some Mother’s Day lessons and activities? We’ve got a new vocabulary lesson on Animal Families in the Word Bank, and 9 fun videos in Tara’s blog post: Mother’s Day Video Fun: Animals and Babies.


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Tanya Trusler

Tanya is a freelance editor and writer with an extensive background as an ESL teacher. She edits lesson plans, creates new materials, and writes weekly blog posts for ESL-Library and Sprout English. Her company is Editing to a T. Follow her on Twitter (@tanyatrusler) and Google Plus.

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