Mother’s Day In France + Dates Around The World

By Annie André

What day is mother’s day? Is it on the second Sunday or last Sunday of May? Are you sure Mother’s Day is even in May? Surprise, Mother’s day is celebrated on all those days, depending on what part of the world you ask. Here’s a list of all the mother’s day dates celebrated around the world.

Mothers day in France

In France, Mother’s day is celebrated on the last Sunday of May, unless it coincides with Pentecost day in France, then Mother’s Day is moved to the first Sunday of June. 

But I didn’t know that when I first moved to France.

Mother’s Day in French is called “Fête des mères”

My First Mothers Day In France (or was it?)

On the Friday before what I thought was Mother’s day, I expected my preschooler to come home with a handcrafted Mother’s day gift. To my surprise, she came home empty-handed. No card, no drawing, not even one of those macaroni necklaces.

No big deal, I thought. “Maybe kids in France don’t make handmade gifts at school for mother’s day, just like it’s not customary for kids to pass out Valentine’s day cards on Valentine’s day to each other at school.”

To my surprise, flower shops were not open on Sunday either. Most shops were closed, and it looked like any other Sunday in France. I didn’t give it a second thought until 2 weeks later, the last Sunday of May. 

 My daughter ran into the kitchen and blurted, very proudly,  “Maman, Bonne fête des mères. J’ai un Cadeau pour toi!” which meansMommy, happy mothers’ day, I have a present for you.” 

She stuck out her hand and gave me a handmade card with the words “Bonne Fête Maman” (‘Happy Mother’s day), written in her scratchy preschool handwriting.

Flower shops were abuzz with special Mother’s day bouquet’s; restaurants had special mother’s day meals, which required a reservation. Overall, Mother’s day in France is celebrated much like it’s celebrated in North America, and world order was restored. 

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Dates and list of all countries that celebrate some form of Mothers Day Around The World

France isn’t the only country that celebrates mother’s on the last Sunday of May. 

In fact, there are over 30 different mothers day dates around the world; not all of those days are called mothers day; for instance, in the UK and Ireland, it’s called “Mothering day.” 

Here’s a complete breakdown of countries that celebrate some form of mothers’ day grouped by date.

Mothers day dates around the world grouped by date

Second Sunday of May: (103 countries celebrate Mothers Day on this date)

Anguilla, Antigua, Aruba, Australia, Austria,

Barbuda, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Barbuda, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bonaire, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei

Cambodia, Canada, Cayman Islands, Central Africa, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Curaçao, Cyprus, Czech 

Denmark, Dominica

Ecuador, Equatorial, Estonia, Ethiopia

Faroe, Fiji, Finland

Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Greenland, Grenada, Guyana

Honduras, Hong

Iceland, India, Italy

Jamaica, Japan

Kenya, Kitts, Kong

Lanka, Latvia, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lucia

Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Myanmar, Namibia

Netherlands, Nevis

Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico

Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Singapore, Sint Maarten, Slovakia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Switzerland

Taiwan, Tanzania, Tobago, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey

Uganda, Ukraine, United States, Uruguay

Venezuela, Vietnam, Vincent

Zambia, Zealand, Zimbabwe

Mothers day dates map grouped by month

21st of March Spring Equinox ( 21 countries)

Arabia, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Emirates, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen,

1st Sunday of May (8 countries)

Angola, Cape, Verde, Hungary, Lithuania, Mozambique, Portugal, Spain.

last Sunday of May (14 countries )

If Mothers’ day falls on Pentecost day, Mother’s day is moved to the first Sunday of June. 

Algeria, Cameroon, Dominican Republic, France, French Antilles, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Haiti, Mauritius, Senegal, Sweden, Tunisia

8th of March “International Woman’s Day” (21 countries)

Afghanistan, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burundi, Burkina, Faso, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Laos, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam

Fourth Sunday of Lent “Mothering Sunday” (7 countries)

Lent is usually in March. 

Guernsey, Ireland, Isle Of Man, Man, Jersey, Nigeria, United Kingdom

August 15 (1 country and 1 city)

August 15 is also Assomption Mary day. 

Costa Rica

Antwerp (Belgium). The rest of Belgium celebrates on the second Sunday of May. 

26 random dates: 26 countries celebrate mothers day on these random dates

  1. Norway: 2nd Sunday of Feb
  2. Georgia: 3rd of March
  3. Slovenia: 25th of March
  4. Armenia: 7th of April
  5. South Korea: on the 8th of May
  6. El Salvador: on 10th  May
  7. Benin: on 14 of May
  8. Paraguay: 15 of May
  9. Kyrgyzstan (Russian): 19th of May
  10. Israel: 22nd of May
  11. Poland: 26th of May
  12. Bolivia: 27th of May
  13. Nicaragua: 30th of May
  14. Mongolia: 1st of June
  15. Luxembourg: 2nd Sunday of June
  16. South Sudan: 1st Monday of July
  17. Thailand: 2nd August
  18. Belarus: 14th Octobre
  19. Malawi: 15th of October
  20. Argentina: 3rd Sunday of October
  21. Timor Leste: 3rd of November,
  22. North Korea: 16th of November,
  23. Russia: Last Sunday of November
  24. Panama: 8th of December,
  25. Indonesia: 22nd of December
  26. India: Two different people from India told me that the concept of celebrating on the 2nd Sunday of may is slowly catching on, but some Hindu people celebrate mothers in a festival called Durga Puja, which is a ten-day celebration in October.

Mothers are important around the world. 

Regardless of the date or what the people of a country call this day dedicated to mothers, the spirit of the celebrations is usually the same or similar—to honour the mother (or female) of the family, motherhood, the maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society.

You should read this
A Complete List Of French Holidays In France Explained + Timeline

Every country has its fair share of bank holidays and France is no different. Here is a complete list explanation, and timeline of all the holidays in France including French school holidays, plus a few notable celebrations and festivals.

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  1. Hey Annie

    I get confused when I hear people talking about Mother’s Day in May!

    You mentioned that it’s in May in the UK but Mothering Sunday is on the fourth Sunday of Lent so usually in March or early April.

    Certainly confusing if it’s not celebrated when you expect it to be!

    Thank goodness I didn’t forget it this year :-).

    1. OOOPS Tim, I fixed that snafu. I meant to put the fourth sunday of Lent for Ireland, UK and Niger.

      It really is confusing though isn’t it. I had to make an excel spread sheet to organize them all.

      I wonder if there is an app for all the mothers days?

  2. Ah, another day I would have screwed up had I been in another country too Annie. I mean if you’re use to celebrating it on a specific day and have all your life then I would go with that day for sure.

    That’s really cool though that pretty much every country celebrates this special day. I mean Mom’s are the hardest working people in the entire world. I applaud you all for everything you do for your family. I know that my Mom is special.

    Thanks for another bit of history here. Loved learning this and glad you had a great Mother’s Day! Or if it’s still to be celebrated at the end of this month!

    ~Adrienne

    1. I choose to celebrate both Adrienne. We still celebrate our customs from our own country while partaking in the new countries holidays too. It’s one of the fringe benefits. :)

  3. Hi Annie,

    Yes indeed, it IS rather confusing as to when Mother’s Day is celebrated :)

    I too had to look it up and found that it’s literally celebrated every month, depending on the country you are looking for – though it’s mainly celebrated in the US and a few more, commonly on 12th May, including ours.

    So, here’s wishing you a very Happy Mother’s Day! More than that, I do believe that every single day should be celebrated as a Mother’s or Father’s day – isn’t it?

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead :)

    1. So true Harleea, mothers and fathers should be celebrated everyday but I think it’s nice to have one special day where we (the person being celebrated) gets to relax and take a day off.

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