With all the different holidays in spring, Mother’s Day, which isn't a public holiday, can get lost in the mix. But who deserves to be honoured more than our mothers? After all, they are the ones who bring everyone into this world and whose special day should always be remembered.
Luckily, there’s a foolproof method to remember the German date: it always falls on the second Sunday in May – well, as long as it doesn’t interfere with Pentecost. If it does, it’s on the first Sunday in May. So far, so simple. The same rule applies to most countries in the world. Now this is where it gets a little complicated, however: people from Norway, Russia, the UK and several other countries beware! Because your mothers might be a tad disappointed if you called them in May to pay them your respect: Mother’s Day in your home country is already long gone.
May = Mother’s Day
If you come to think about it, what better time is there to celebrate mothers? Spring is the season of birth and renewal after all. Early accounts claim that people in the German region of Thuringia connected these dots as early as the Middle Ages. This isn’t to say that it became an official holiday soon after though. Official Mother’s Day celebrations didn’t take place until the year 1922.
Mother's Day has a dark chapter in German history too, however. During the years of National Socialist rule between 1933 and 1945, the idealised view of motherhood was viewed as integral to the Nazi fantasy of Germany's collective health. This cult-like yet sexist adoration of women as mothers (and pretty much only mothers) resulted in large-scale ceremonies: mothers received special decorations for giving birth to as many 'Aryan' children as possible. After 1945, the day returned to a more politically neutral holiday for celebrating moms.
Today, Mother’s Day in Hamburg and Germany in general is not too different from most other countries in the world. This includes visits or phone calls to express love and gratitude for mothers, as well as sending gifts or flowers. Making breakfast or cooking dinner for your mother are popular in more conservative households in which these chores are still usually the mother’s daily tasks.