Exeter, Devon UK • Jun 15, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home InternationalOverseas CorrespondentsHolidays Unpacked The international legacy of Mother’s and Father’s Day

The international legacy of Mother’s and Father’s Day

Online International Editor, Magdalena Kanecka, examines the celebrations of Mother's and Father's Day around the world.
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Gifting flowers are among many ways for children to celebrate Mother’s and Father’s Day. (Pixabay via Pexels)

The legacy of Mother’s and Father’s Days has remained unmatched since the early 1900s, with the first celebrations taking place in the US. These holidays have taken on several versions of not only celebrations but also the days on which these celebrations occur. Some European countries like Poland even celebrate Children’s Day on the 1st of June too, where children can expect to get small gifts from their parents to celebrate childhood, instead of just the usual celebrations of Mothers and Fathers.

Traditionally, the British way of celebrating Mother’s Day takes place on the fourth Sunday of Lent, on Mothering Sunday, with the last one falling on the 30th March 2024. Father’s Day is soon to take place on the 16th of June 2024. Both parents can expect to receive flowers, cards, or chocolates on their prospective days in the UK. Yet, today, it is only some countries such as Lithuania, that recognise these days as public holidays– questioning their significance.

A lot of the ways of celebrating parenthood internationally differ per religion, with Catholic countries honouring the historical meaning and significance of Saint Joseph’s Day on the 16th of June and Mothering Sunday on the fourth Sunday of Lent far more than more secular countries that primarily wish to celebrate how vital parents are in their children’s lives.  Furthermore, Sikh countries celebrate Fatherhood on the 29th of December and place little importance on Motherhood. On the other hand, Muslims see no need for such celebrations under the principle and belief that “every day is Mother’s/ Father’s Day”.

“Far fewer people nowadays see the significance of ‘parent holidays’ or even know where they originate from in the first place.”

Yet, this is not always the case in all religions universally. For example, Poland – a primarily Catholic country, has one set date for Mother’s Day every year; that being the 26th May. Mexico places a crucial value on Mother’s Day, celebrated on the 10th of May every year, where children sing songs to their mothers and often cook for them, allowing the parents to rest and let the children do chores for them. Ethiopia celebrates parenthood (especially Motherhood) for three consecutive days at the end of the annual rainy season, hoping to bring all parents peace along with excellent weather.

On the other hand, however, research shows that far fewer people nowadays see the significance of ‘parent holidays’ or even know where they originate from in the first place. With even fewer countries recognising them as public holidays, this rapidly poses questions of whether parenthood celebrations are decreasing overall. There is also an ongoing debate about what happens to those who no longer have their parents by their side or are no longer in contact with them. 

To conclude, regardless of the debate, I believe it is important to remember that parenthood celebrations through Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or even Children’s Day, are an incredibly personal thing and should therefore be celebrated in your own ways, regardless of how your country or religion see it, but instead, how you see it personally. 

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