Mother’s Day 2024: When is it in the UK and why is it celebrated on different days?

Mothering Sunday takes place on the fourth Sunday in the festival of Lent in the UK  (Yuganov Konstantin / Shutterstock)
Mothering Sunday takes place on the fourth Sunday in the festival of Lent in the UK (Yuganov Konstantin / Shutterstock)

Mother’s Day is fast approaching, but keeping up with the date can be tricky.

Not only does it land on a different date each year, but different countries around the world also celebrate it at different times.

But to make sure you can book a day out for your mum, or arrange for flowers and a card to be sent on time, it’s important to be prepared.

Here is everything you need to know about Mother’s Day 2024 and how it’s celebrated around the world.

When is Mother’s Day 2024 in the UK?

Unlike Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Halloween, Mothering Sunday falls on different dates in different countries every year.

This year, the UK will celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday, March 10.

The UK date of this celebration is rooted in the Christian observance of Lent, with Mothering Sunday taking place on the fourth Sunday, exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday.

This observance originated in the Middle Ages, when children who had left their families to work in domestic service were allowed to go to their home – or “mother” – church.

The journey home morphed into a spring occasion for families to reunite, which eventually adopted the custom of children picking flowers on the way home as a gift to their mothers.

The date also became a celebration as the fasting rules of Lent were relaxed, earning the day the name of Refreshment Sunday, Simnel Sunday – after the simnel cakes traditionally baked on the day – and Pudding Pie Sunday.

How did Mothering Sunday become Mother’s Day?

Mother’s Day began in America in 1907.

Anna Jarvis, the daughter of a peace activist who treated wounded soldiers in the American Civil War, campaigned for a day to honour the role played by mothers. She observed the second Sunday in May, as that was when she held a service to honour her mother when she died.

The idea gained such traction that, by 1911, all US states took on the holiday.

It was declared a national holiday by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914, who officially stated it should be held in May.

Even though she founded the holiday, Ms Jarvis later strongly opposed its growing commercialisation and eventually campaigned against it.

Eventually, this tradition reached the UK, and Mothering Sunday became more popularly known as Mother’s Day.

Why is Mother’s Day celebrated at different times around the world?

Mother’s Day has become more secular and commercialised and is now celebrated globally.

Some countries gave it a religious meaning, which has been gradually lost over the years.

In other countries, the date is based on seasons or times of the year.

While Nigeria joins the UK and Ireland in celebrating mothers on the fourth Sunday of Lent, most countries around the world follow America’s lead in celebrating the holiday on the second Sunday in May, which this year is May 14.

Others, including Russia, Vietnam, and Afghanistan, mark the occasion on International Women’s Day on March 8.

In France, the festivity is traditionally celebrated on the last Sunday of May, but it is moved to the first Sunday of June if it coincides with Pentecost day.

Gift ideas and things to do this Mother’s Day

There are offers and deals for all price ranges this year – with plenty to do around London for free.

If you are looking to treat your mum to something special, look no further than a hamper. There are options that can be delivered straight to her door and come with a bunch of flowers. There are luxury items from top-ranging shops across London including Fortnum and Mason. For the full list, click here.

And don’t forget a Mother’s Day card.

When is Father’s Day 2024?

In the UK, Father’s Day 2024 falls on Sunday, June 16.

The celebration of fatherhood is always held on the third Sunday of June.

It is thought the festival may have originated in pagan sun worship, with some branches of the religion seeing the Sun as the father of the universe.