Skip to main content
A selection of flowers with a sign saying 'Happy Mother's Day'

When is Mother's Day 2024?

Don't forget to buy a card and a bunch of flowers! Mother's Day is on the way but how much do you know about why we celebrate the day in the first place?


Celebrations of motherhood and fertility are almost as old as human civilisation itself. While our ancient ancestors marvelled at the wonder that is creation, today, we celebrate something altogether more human: the women in our lives who have loved and cared for us.

However, despite celebrations of motherhood stretching back well into pre-history, you might be surprised to learn that the Mother’s Day celebrations that you know and love today have a more modern origin here in Britain.

Here is everything you need to know about celebrating Mother’s Day in the UK and how it all got started.

What is the origin of Mother’s Day?

The tradition of Mothering Sunday started in 16th-century Britain but had less to do with mothers and more to do with celebrating the Christian faith. Mothering Sunday was the day when families would all come together to visit their ‘mother church’. For some, this was considered to be the church where they were christened, while others would visit their local cathedral. This meant that some families would take quite a journey.

For many, returning to their mother church meant visiting family that they might have moved away from for work or marriage and would be part of a more significant homecoming celebration. Over time, the tradition evolved so that people started making the journey with more of a familial focus than a religious one. Eventually, the habit became focused on the matriarchs themselves and bloomed into the day of motherly appreciation that we know now.

Why is Mother’s Day always on a different date?

Mothering Sunday always falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent, just three weeks before Easter. As Easter is always celebrated on the first Sunday that falls on or after the first full moon following the Spring Equinox, its date can vary by as much as a month. This means that other celebrations surrounding Easter, such as Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, and Mothering Sunday, are all dictated by the waxing and waning of the moon.

When is Mother’s Day in 2024?

This year we are celebrating an early Easter which means that Mother’s Day is earlier than usual as well. Mother’s Day will be on Sunday, 10th March 2024.

Why is Mother’s Day different in the UK?

While Mother’s Day has a strong tradition related to Lent and Easter, elsewhere in the world, it is celebrated in a variety of different ways and on different dates. In fact, you’d be forgiven for thinking that all global Mother’s Day celebrations are rooted in Christian tradition; however, that’s not quite true. Different traditions from around the world have grown and evolved from their own independent origins entirely.

What are traditional British Mother’s Day Celebrations?

While there is no right or wrong way to celebrate Mother’s Day, there certainly are traditions that date back to its origins. Today, you might treat your mum to a lovely breakfast in bed, some gifts, and a bright bunch of flowers, but original Mothering Sunday traditions are far less commercial.

Gifts of baked goods are one of the most traditional ways that you can celebrate, as they are heavily associated with the biblical story of the ‘Feeding of the 5,000’. As Lenten fasting is exempt on Sundays, gifts of sweet loaves, buns, and heavily fruited Simnel cakes were traditionally gifted on Mothering Sunday.

How is Mother’s Day celebrated around the world?

  • In Australia, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. The tradition of gift-giving on this day began to gain popularity in 1924 when, following the devastation of the First World War, a campaign was created encouraging people to give gifts to women who had lost their husbands and sons in the war.
  • Thailand’s Mother’s Day is celebrated on 12th August every year, which is the birthday of their queen, Queen Sirikit, who is considered the mother of the country.
  • In Ethiopia, mothers are celebrated for three whole days at the end of the rainy season. This can fall anywhere between October and November
  • Mexico’s Día de las Madres is a huge festival-like celebration that takes place on 10th May every year. Mothers are celebrated with food, music, dancing, and flowers. Throughout the day, friends and families will sing to the mothers in their lives to show their appreciation.