The Spanish Language Blog

Spring has sprung and that means Mother's Day is here again! In most countries, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May, but in Spain and Portugal, the celebration is on the first Sunday in May. So "Día de la Madre," the Spanish name for Mother's Day, is on May 4 this year. Nowadays, this day is more of a commercial thing, but the idea behind it remains the same in every country: to spoil mothers by having breakfast in bed, presents and taking over caregiving duties for a day.

  • In the Netherlands this year, Mother's Day falls on May 11 but in Spain it is always celebrated a week earlier. This year, "Dia de la Madre" falls on May 4.
  • The celebration of Mother's Day in Spain is more like a celebration of a family birthday. The whole family gathers and many gifts are handed out. The day is dedicated to mothers, of course, but socializing and being with family is equally important.

Mother's Day has several origins. In ancient Greece, worshipping mothers was already part of the ceremonies for "Rhea," the "Great Mother of the Gods," and in Great Britain the day descended from the Christian holiday "Mothering Sunday" which takes place on the 4th Sunday in Lent. It was not until 1644 that there was a Mother's Day in Great Britain with no church background. In America today, Mother's Day is a commercial thing. Here, the celebration dates back to the 19th century after a female judge from Philadelphia started a publicity stunt for Mother's Day, a day that was to be dedicated to appreciating mothers.

So on May 4, Mother's Day is celebrated in Spain. Many stores and boutiques are decorated weeks in advance and the shelves are full of the well-known Mother's Day gifts: chocolate, flowers and greeting cards. But homemade gifts and cards are much more appreciated by mothers. Therefore, school children also start making a Mother's Day gift a few weeks in advance. A few hours a day they spend crafting at school. Cutting, pasting, coloring and painting, everything is done to make the perfect gift. Of course, with a little help from their masters and teachers. When Sunday finally arrives, breakfast is often made by the father and children. While doing so, the crafted Mother's Day gifts are given and the Mother's Day poems are read.

In Spain, it is normal for Mother's Day to be celebrated with the whole family and not just the family. Therefore, mothers also receive gifts from other family members and it is a fun and festive celebration with the whole family. May is also the month when the Blessed Virgin Mary (the mother of Jesus) is honored, which often coincides with the celebration of Mother's Day.

Mother's Day in Spain does not differ that much from the Dutch celebration. Except that it is celebrated on a different day and is often combined with honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary, the intention is the same. This day is dedicated to pampering mothers, but most of all to coziness with family and relatives. The best way to celebrate Mother's Day is often by simply spending time with her.

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