Happy Mother's Day in 5 Languages

November 10, 2023

Whether you have a mom, step-mom, grandma, wife, or just a close friend who’s had kids, Mother’s Day is the perfect time to celebrate all the moms and mother figures in your life. This year, learn how to say “Happy Mother’s Day” in French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese so you can celebrate mothers of all stripes in 5 different languages.

What is Mother’s Day?

Mother’s Day is a holiday specifically set aside for celebrating moms of all kinds. Depending on where you are in the world, it might have started around a celebration of the Virgin Mary (as in Spain and Latin America) or around a time of year when people typically returned home (as for Mothering Day in the UK and Ireland). However, these days, Mother’s Day has largely evolved to feature a lot of the same things worldwide.

Traditional ways to celebrate Mother’s Day include a phone call or visit, a hug, flowers, chocolates, and even breakfast in bed. All around the world, it’s all about saying thanks to the moms in your life for the love and care they give.

There have been many variations on Mother’s Day around the world, dating back many centuries, but today, it’s celebrated in most – but not all! – countries on the second Sunday in May. (Other variations are often timed around Christian festivals like Lent, Easter, and Pentecost, as with the UK and Ireland’s Mothering Day.) Italy, Germany, the US, Canada, and many others have all moved to celebrating on the second Sunday in May regardless of religious festivals, thanks in large part thanks to the work of one woman in the early 1900s, Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia.

Jarvis campaigned for a day recognizing the work of mothering and raising children, based in large part on her own mother’s commitment to reducing infant mortality in the 1800s. She wanted to recognize the women that took care of large families during the American Civil War and the events she organized were often focused around commemorating and memorializing mothers who had passed. Jarvis herself wanted the holiday to be modest and was bothered by the commercial aspect of the holiday – like buying cards and candies – that quickly took hold after President Woodrow Wilson made it an official US national holiday in 1914.

Nonetheless, the holiday stuck and spread beyond the US and today, flowers, cards, and gifts remain a big part of how many celebrate it, though a simple thanks is always appreciated too.

When is Mother’s Day 2023?

  • Mothering Day (UK and Ireland) is held on the 4th Sunday of Lent. This year, it fell on Mar. 19, 2023.

  • In Egypt and much of the Middle East, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the Spring Equinox. This year, it was Mar. 21, 2023.

  • In Spain, El Dia de la Madre is the first Sunday in May, so this year it’s May 7, 2023.

  • In South Korea, they celebrate Parents’ Day, which was May 8, 2023.

  • In Mexico and many Latin American countries, it falls on May 10, 2023.

  • In the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, and many others, it’s on the 2nd Sunday in May each year. This year, it’s May 14, 2023.

  • In Haiti, it’s the last Sunday in May, so May 28, 2023.

  • And in France, la Fête des mères is on the last Sunday in May except when it conflicts with Pentecost, as this year, so in 2023 it’s on June 4, 2023.

How to say Happy Mother’s Day in different languages

Now you know what and when Mother’s Day is, but what do you say to celebrate it from wherever you are? Here’s how to say “Happy Mother’s Day” in 5 different languages.

Happy Mother’s Day in Spanish

Mother’s Day: El Día de la Madre

What to say: “Feliz Día de la Madre!”

Happy Mother’s Day in French

Mother’s Day: La Fête des Mères

What to say: “Joyeuse Fête des Mères!”

Happy Mother’s Day in Italian

Mother’s Day: La Festa della Mamma

What to say: “Buona Festa della Mamma!”

Happy Mother’s Day in German

Mother’s Day: Muttertag

What to say: “Alles Liebe zum Muttertag”

Happy Mother’s Day in Japanese

Mother’s Day: 母の日 (Haha no Hi)

What to say: “お母さん、ありがとう!” (Okaasan, arigatou!)

Worth noting: “Okaasan, arigatou!” means, “Thank you, Mom!” 

While the direct translation of “Happy Mother’s Day” into Japanese would be 母の日、おめでとうございます – Haha no hi, omedetou gozaimasu – which is loosely “Congratulations for Mother’s Day,” it’s not really a phrase that you’d use in Japanese, unless maybe you were on TV or the radio.

Instead, to your own mom, you’d be more likely to say Okaasan, arigatou! A warm thank you for everything she does.

Now you know how to say Happy Mother’s Day in many languages

Why stop there? Learn to truly express your thanks, love, and appreciation in a new language.

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