International Mother's Day Celebrations
The popular celebrating of Mother’s Day quickly expanded beyond just West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Only one year after the initial observances occurred, forty three additional states and the territories of Puerto Rico and Hawaii observed the day. Mother’s Day quickly expanded outside of the United States, reaching Canada, Mexico, China, and various countries in Africa and Asia by 1911. By 1912, Jarvis had translated materials about the Mother’s Day Movement into over ten languages and named the organization dedicated to advancing the ideas of the movement the Mother’s Day International Association, attesting to its spread around the world.
In Australia, a Sydney newspaper reported, “Millions of Mother’s thank God for Miss Jarvis as they receive their homage from their sons and daughters on Mother’s Day.”
In Japan, Christian groups celebrated Mother’s Day for nineteen years before the city of Tokyo officially held an observance in the 1930s. At an address at the celebration, Dr. Nitobe said, “Mother’s Day is a great American gift to Japan.”
American soldiers helped to spread the idea of Mother’s Day to France during World War I.
Today, many countries around the world recognize the second Sunday in May as a day to honor mothers. Countries include Australia, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, China, Germany, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, and many others. Others choose to honor mothers on different days that link to their own heritage and observances.