Nepal: Wading in a sacred pond
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
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.”
United Kingdom: Traditional treats
“Mothering Sunday”—commonly called Mother’s Day in the UK—is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent, during the lead-up to Easter. In a tradition that dates all the way back to the Middle Ages, some British families serve Simnel cake as a treat for their mothers at the end of a Lenten fast. The dense dessert stuffed with fruits and topped with marzipan started out as a bread, Neil Buttery, a food historian and chef in Manchester, writes on his blog, British Food: A History. “What made it special is that it [was] made out of the highest quality flour possible; simnel derives from the Latin simila—the whitest and finest of flours.” Our mums deserve only the best, since medieval times! These Mother Day quotes will show mom how much you really care.