Honored in Every Way: Celebrating Mother’s Day in Multicultural Canada

By , on May 11, 2014

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ShutterStock image


People in Canada are blessed to have the privilege of celebrating occasions in a country that embraces different cultures and traditions.

As with most countries, Mother’s Day is a big deal in Canada. But how do different communities celebrate mom’s day now that they’ve moved to the Great White North?

Here are just some of the ways that various nations honor their moms on this special day.


Canada’s Mother’s Day cookie cake

Every second Sunday of May, Canadians celebrate mother’s day by giving gifts and simple family gatherings in honor of mothers, grandmothers, and other motherly figures in the family.

According to Wikipedia, “a Québécois tradition is for Québécois men to offer roses or other flowers to the women.”

And based on further research, a cookie cake is one of the most popular mother’s day gifts. Now that is yummy, mommy.


China and Carnations

In China, mothers are honored by giving them carnations.

In fact, more flowers are sold in China on mother’s day compared to any other occasions in the republic.

Originally, mother’s day was celebrated to commemorate the poor mothers in the countryside and remind people to extend their help.


India’s Matr Dinam

A simple Google search showed that “in India, mothers are considered as god to their children.”

The day is called मातृदिनम् or matṛ dinam in Sanskrit. Wikipedia expounds that in “Hindu tradition, mothers are paid homage to on Saraswati pooja day during Devi Navratri, with ‘Maatri Pooja’ (worship of mother).”


Indonesia’s Hari Ibu

Indonesians call mother’s day “Hari Ibu” and it is celebrated every December 22nd thanks to President Soekarno and the Presidential Decree No. 316 in 1953.

The presidential decree was passed to “celebrate the spirit of Indonesian women and to improve the condition of the nation.”

Much like in other countries, Indonesians honor their mothers by giving flowers and gifts. Some families also hold surprise parties, special home-cooked meals, the wearing of kebaya, and even competitions within family and friends.


Henrietta Szold of Israel

According to Wikipedia, “the Jewish population celebrates Mother’s Day on Shevat 30 of the Jewish calendar, which falls between 30 January and 1 March,” which is the same date of Henrietta Szold’s death.

Szold, despite not having children of her own, gave refuge to many Jewish children and saved them from Nazi Germany. She fought for children’s rights and for that she was considered their mother.

Today, Jews remember Szold (יום השנה) on the same day as mother’s day (יוֹם הָאֵם, yom ha’em), which is also called Family Day or yom hamishpacha (וֹם הַמִשְּפָּחָה).


Japan’s Haha No Hi

Japan’s word for “happy” (especially for occasions) is “omedatou,” as in “o-tanjoubi omedatou” is “happy birthday.”

However, for mother’s day, our Japanese friends call it “haha no hi.” Perhaps they saw how fun (and funny) mothers really are.

In Japan, mother’s day started as the birthday of Empress Kojun on March 6, 1931. Empress Kojun is the mother of Emperor Akihito.

But as Japan continued to grow, more and more Japanese households considered the second Sunday of May as mother’s day. Flowers are a big deal on mother’s day, particularly red roses and carnations.


Dia de la Madre in Spain

Spanish moms are honored one week before most of the world’s moms.

In Spain, mother’s day—or dia de la madre—is celebrated on the first Sunday of May by giving gifts and spending the day with the entire family. It is also celebrated in the month dedicated to Jesus’ own mother, Virgin Mary. This belief is followed by the mainly Catholic population of Spain.

Mother’s day is such a big deal that school children are given several hours a day to prepare for dia de la madre weeks before the special day.


Philippines and the Ilaw ng Tahanan

The Pinoys’ ilaw ng tahanan or “light of the household” are especially honored every second Sunday of May.

Filipinos are famous of their almost unbelievable intensity of filial piety and mothers are often on that filial pedestal.

Pinoys usually bring their moms to malls to enjoy a special meal in a restaurant with the entire family. Moms are also taken to enjoy a day in the spa for relaxation. Most of all, they are not to do any household chores on that day. Most children are also expected to create greeting cards and small gifts to honor their mommy.


Whichever way you choose to celebrate mother’s day, the important thing is that you spend it with the very reason you exist—your mom.

Happy mother’s day, everyone!