Celebrating Mother’s Day in Spain: Traditions, Differences, and Unique Insights

Mother’s Day, known as “Día de la Madre” in Spain, holds a special place in the hearts of the Spanish people. Rooted in both ancient traditions and modern practices, this special day dedicated to honoring mothers is rich with cultural significance and heartfelt celebrations.

Traditional Celebrations in Spain

In Spain, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of May, a tradition that aligns with the country’s predominantly Catholic heritage but differs from the universal Mother’s Day date in many other countries. The choice of the first Sunday, rather than a fixed date, allows the celebration to stay within the month traditionally dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, emphasizing the deep Christian roots of the country.

The day is marked by various gestures and gifts. From vibrant flowers purchased from busy florists in cities like Barcelona to luxurious breakfast-in-bed setups, Spanish children (both young and old) go out of their way to show their love and appreciation.

On this day, families often gather for a festive meal, where mothers are treated to their favorite dishes as a token of gratitude. Unlike some countries where Mother’s Day has become highly commercialized, in Spain, the emphasis remains on intimate family gatherings and personal expressions of love.

Differences from South American Celebrations

While “El Día de la Madre” is celebrated enthusiastically across both Spain and South American countries, like Ecuador and Colombia. though, there are notable differences. In many South American nations, the day is infused with local customs and may coincide with other significant dates, such as in Argentina where it is observed on the third Sunday of October.

The celebrations are often more expansive with larger family reunions and community events, reflecting the vibrant and communal culture of these regions.

Moreover, in countries like Mexico and Peru, Mother’s Day is virtually a public holiday, with extensive celebrations and sometimes even official ceremonies and events, unlike in Spain where the day remains a more family-centric celebration.

Interesting Cultural Facts

  • Historical Roots: The celebration of mothers can be traced back to ancient civilizations. The Romans celebrated the festival of Cybele, a mother goddess, while the Greeks honored Rhea, the mother of Zeus and other Olympian gods. The connection to divine motherhood showcases the day’s deep historical and cultural significance.
  • Influence of Religion: The day’s association with the Virgin Mary during the month dedicated to her, known as the “month of the Virgin,” ties it closely to religious observances in Spain. This contrasts with the origins of Mother’s Day in the United States, which was spearheaded by Julia Ward Howe as a call to unite women against war.
  • Literary Mentions: Spanish literature and media often reflect the reverence for mothers, with numerous poems, stories, and songs dedicated to maternal figures. This cultural portrayal underscores the importance of “nuestra madre” (our mothers) in Spanish society.

Comparison with Other Countries

While Mother’s Day in Spain falls on the first Sunday of May, it varies elsewhere. For example, the United Kingdom celebrates it as “Mothering Sunday,” which falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent, showing its distinct Christian roots tied to the church calendar. Meanwhile, countries like Ireland and Portugal share the same date with Spain, illustrating the spread of similar Catholic traditions across European borders.

In contrast, countries like Germany and Hungary mark the occasion on the second Sunday of May, aligning more closely with the American observance initiated by Julia Ward Howe and later popularized by Anna Jarvis.


Mother’s Day in Spain is a vivid tapestry woven from threads of historical, cultural, and religious significance. As Spaniards mark this special day on the first Sunday of May, they not only honor their mothers but also celebrate a rich heritage that dates back to ancient civilizations and the earliest Christian traditions. Whether through a simple gift of flowers, a sumptuous meal, or just quality time spent together, Mother’s Day remains a deeply significant occasion for celebrating the pivotal role of mothers in society.

Happy Mother’s Day from Remitly!

Feliz Día de la Madre de parte de Remitly!