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I'm Why do the US and UK have different dates for Mother's Day?

If there’s a holiday that makes Britain, it’s Mother’s Day. With us Brits celebrating it on one day, and the Americans on another, things can get a little confusing.

Young boy celebrating Mother's Day 

So why are they on different days in the US and UK?

Short answer: Technically, they’re different holidays.


US Mother’s Day – Second Sunday of May

Mother’s Day as we know it (last-minute cards, flowers from a petrol station) originated in the States.

It was officially recognised in 1914 after a lady named Anna Jarvis campaigned to honour the mothers of soldiers in the US Civil War.

The second Sunday of May was chosen as the official Mother’s Day in the US in remembrance of Jarvis’s mother, who died on May 9th.

UK Mother’s Day – Fourth Sunday of Lent

Our Mother’s Day is a modern take on a tradition that goes back as far as the 1500s.

The original ‘Mothering Sunday’ was a day for people to go and visit their home ‘mother’ church, and for many families it was the only day that they could all be together in one place.

This tradition petered out over time, but was revived in 1920 by Constance Smith, a vicar’s daughter who was inspired by Jarvis’s efforts in the US.

The revival of Mother’s Day in the UK was gradual, but by 1938 it was celebrated throughout the British Empire.


Here’s a quick rhyme to remember which Mother’s Day is which:

In the UK, it’s Mother’s Day, before the Easter eggs are laid.

So if you’re munching on an Easter egg and you’re wondering why your Mum hasn’t spoken to you in a couple of weeks, it’s probably because you forgot to send her flowers.

Do you find any other calendar events confusing? Or perhaps you don't see what the big deal is?

Either way we'd like to hear from you. Please leave your comments below. Compendium of confusion leaderboard May 2014 edition

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Jamie Gibbs

Jamie Gibbs

Jamie Gibbs is a Content Producer at, and is a self-confessed retro geek. If you spot an 80s pop culture reference, chances are he's the one who put it there.

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