Nepal: Wading in a sacred pond
Vladimir Zhoga/Shutterstock On the equivalent of Mother’s Day, known as Mata Tirtha Aunsi, Nepali whose mothers have passed away gather in a sacred celebration to honor their memories. Huge crowds flock to a large village in Kathmandu each year to wade into the famous Matatritha pond—this rite is said to bring peace to the atman—soul or essence—of their departed Hindu mothers.
Find out more about the surprising history of Mother’s Day.
Mexico: A sweet serenade
Caracarafoto/Shutterstock Singing to your much-loved mom is a widespread Dia de Las Madres tradition south of the border. Often, children join mariachi bands to belt songs like “Las Mañanitas” (Awaken, my dear, awaken/and see that the day has dawned/now the little birds are singing/and the moon has set) and “Amor de Madre” (A Mother’s Love). In rural areas, these serenades may take place right outside a mother’s own home; elsewhere, mariachis sing to moms in restaurants or parties. Some Mexican-American families carry on these Mother’s Day traditions, Dan Sheehy, director of the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (and mariachi band member!) told NPR, “It’s very popular in the United States. People generally charge by the hour, so there are mariachis you hire for an hour. They show up at Mom’s house and play the songs that they want to hear.”