French traditions : Mother's day

Mother’s Day :

During your stay in Montpellier, after our French courses, you will certainly want to find out more about French culture. Mother's Day is a special day dedicated to our mothers, which is celebrated around the world once a year. During this celebration, we honour motherhood and maternal love by preparing a good meal and giving a small gift to our mother. In France, Mother's Day is celebrated very assiduously, with over 80% of families organising something for their mothers. Immerse yourself in French culture and spend this day celebrated worldwide with all the international students in France!

When is Mother's Day celebrated in France?

Mother's Day is celebrated in France every year on the last Sunday in May. However, the next Mother's Day celebration takes place in June, as the last weekend in May is already taken up by Pentecost. The date for Mother's Day 2023 is therefore Sunday 4 June.

What are the origins of Mother's Day?

The first traces of Mother's Day can be found in Greek mythology. In ancient Greece, the "Great Mother", who represented the goddess Rhea, the mother of Zeus, was honoured in spring. The Romans celebrated Matralia or Matronalia in honour of women and mothers.

The tradition of „Mothering Sunday“ began in England in the 17th century. Over the centuries, this tradition gradually spread to other countries, in particular France.

In France, the first Mother's Day dates back to 1906.

Mother's Day took on a national dimension with Marshal Pétain and his policy of increasing fertility. In 1941, he had Mother's Day added to the calendar. Mother's Day was officially institutionalised in France in 1950, under the presidency of Vincent Auriol.

What traditions are associated with Mother's Day?

Traditions vary from country to country. In France, mothers are often showered with gifts, such as breakfast in bed, a meal with delicious Mother's Day recipes, and a small homemade Mother's Day card.
In France, the most common custom is to give your mother a present. Mother's Day gifts are special because they should be a very personal symbol of love. All schoolchildren in France are expected to make a home-made present for her on the big day. It is also customary to say "Bonne Fête maman" to your mother and to shower her with kisses and hugs.

As adults, older children take the time to spoil their mother and buy her a present. Cosmetics and beauty products, chocolates, bottles of wine and bouquets of flowers are the most popular gifts.

Mother's Day around the world

Mother's Day is a universal holiday, celebrated all over the world, but the timing differs from country to country. Most countries celebrate it in May. Some countries have moved away from May to celebrate Mother's Day in February, as in Norway, or in December, as in Indonesia. In Spain and Portugal, Mother's Day is celebrated all throughout May. In Ethiopia, the date is not fixed, as it depends on the end of the rainy season.

The dates are different, but so is the celebration of Mother's Day.

In Spain, mothers are forbidden to cook, so children invite them to restaurants and present them with bouquets of flowers. In Mexico, children go knocking on mothers' doors and serenade them with guitar music, and in Hungary, all the towns offer concerts, plays and sports competitions to celebrate this day with the family.