Paying tribute to motherhood and the miracle of giving life is universal but each country has its unique specificities and ways of celebrating their moms.
MOTHER’S DAY DATE IN FRANCE
The date put aside each year to honour moms varies around the world. Most countries celebrate on a Sunday between March and May with a great majority on the 8th May this year (2022).
France likes to be a bit different! Our Mother’s Day traditionally takes place on the very last Sunday of May. However if the date coincides with a public holiday and religious Pentecost celebration (50 days after Easter), then Mother’s Day is moved to the very first Sunday of June.
HOW TO WISH A HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY IN FRENCH
Mother’s Day is “La fête des mères”.
Happy Mother’s Day is “Bonne fête des mères”. You will notice that we use a plural encompassing all moms.
Mère is mother but maman is mom so children will typically say “Bonne fête Maman”.
Whereas English and American have several words : mom/mum , mommy/mummy… we only have one : maman!
It is interesting to note that most langages have very similar terms : maman in French, mama in German, mamá in Spanish, mamma in Italian and Swedish...
The language expert Roman Jakobson explains this similarity with the learning of sounds. Pronouncing the vowel "a" requires very little effort or lip movement for a baby.
THE MOST COMMON GIFTS FOR MOTHER’S DAY IN FRANCE
Children generally gift a homemade present to their mom. It is typically a drawing, a painting, a pasta necklace, an art and crafts card. Singing a song or writing a poem is also popular.
Bringing breakfast in bed is another common way of celebrating.
It is usually a day spent as a family, enjoying a nice meal and taking quality time together!
TWO SWEET FRENCH COMPTINES FOR MOTHER’S DAY
A comptine is in between a song and a poem. We could compare it to a nursery rhyme. They are traditionally learnt by children at school.
THE ORIGIN OF MOTHER’S DAY IN FRANCE
Celebrating moms has political origins in France. It is said that the first person to initiate the idea was Napoléon in 1806.
A century later at a time when the birthrate was declining the French government decided to create a special day to honour mothers.
In 1918, the city of Lyon held a Mother’s Day for all the wives and mothers who had lost a husband and son during the war. In 1920 it was created as a “large family” national day. However it was only in 1926 that Mother’s Day was officially established.
At first it did not have much success. It was only in the 1940s once the Maréchal Pétain highlighted the importance of mothers in the society that the celebration gained more recognition.
MOTHERHOOD AROUND THE WORLD
Love is the universal langage of mums! Through our Charlotte sy Dimby world, we are lucky to meet families from all over the globe : USA, England, Japan, Qatar, Australia…
We asked mums to share about their experiences of motherhood. Below are a few of their most heartfelt answers :
What is the biggest lesson you have learnt as a mum?
“To see the world and people through the eyes of a child”
“If you listen to your babies, they will teach you so much about yourself”
“Patience and to accept each child as they are, to cherish their individuality”
“To truly enjoy every moment as childhood goes by so quick”
“To do things in a kinder and more gentle way”
“To stay in the present moment”
“Patience, slowing down… still learning”
“Learning to let go, to leave more space for the unpredicted and unexpected, to constantly adapt”
“That the most beautiful and happy memories often occur in the small moments of daily life”
What is your greatest pride as a mother?
“Seeing my children acting kindly to others”
“Seeing my children filled with joy and watching them grow”
“Watching them learn”
“Being able to care for my own mum in the hope they will do the same for me”
“The love I get and the love I can give through motherhood”
A final deeply inspiring word shared by Carla, mother of Carly Joy and Ella Joy :
One of my favorite songs is called “I hope you dance…” by the artist Lee Ann Womack.
The lyrics hold a most wonderful lesson encouraging us to experience all the wonderful opportunities the world offers and to have the confidence to live the life of our dreams. This is exactly what I hope to instill in my girls.
As a mother, I hope to continue to “dance,” and dream of the same for my daughters!
Photos 1& 4 by Captured by Ellie
Photos 2 &5 by Bittersweetcolours
Photo 3 by Mariëlle van Herk
Photos 6&7 by Daniel Melick