Mothers Day
Mothers Day

Celebrating Mother’s Day in Scandinavian Countries

For many people around the world, Mother’s Day is a familiar holiday. It’s an opportunity to show appreciation and love to the most important woman in your life, and let her know just how special she is. However, like many other holidays, the traditions and even dates involved in celebrating Mother’s Day can vary depending on where you are in the world. 

In the UK, Mother’s day first started in the Middle Ages, when people who had moved away from home visited their mothers once a year, on the fourth Sunday of the Christian festival, Lent. In the USA, Mother’s day is celebrated in the second Sunday of May each year, a tradition which started with a woman named Anna Jarvis. In the early 1900s, you held a small memorial service for her mother each year, and the event eventually became a national holiday. 

Scandinavian countries have created their own version of Mother’s Day too. While the purpose of the day remains the same in all countries: to honor and spoil your mom, each country in Scandinavia adds its own unique spin to the festivities. Show your appreciation for the mothers in your life with flowers, mother’s day gifts, and quality time.

Let’s take a closer look at Mother’s day in Scandinavia. 

Mothers Day
Mothers Day

Mother’s Day in Sweden

In Sweden, Mother’s Day is always celebrated on the last Sunday of May. The event, known as “Mors Dag,” was first introduced in 1919, after a Swedish author named Cecilia Bååth-Holmberg suggested taking the idea from America. 

In Sweden, Mother’s Day is a “flag day”, which means the Swedish flag is often flown outside of homes and businesses around the country. Traditions include everything from preparing breakfast in bed for moms, to treating them with their own special song. Swedish children craft handmade cards, similar to many youngsters across the globe, and often pick wild daffodils to present in a bouquet. 

Commonly, Mother’s Day in Sweden is an opportunity for overwhelmed moms to relax and unwind, children and partners help out with the housework, and prepare a little ceremony in the evening, where food is shared, and children say “thank you” to their mom for everything they’ve done throughout the year. 

Mother’s Day in Denmark

Mother’s Day in Denmark is also known as “Mors Dag”, but it’s celebrated on the second Sunday of May each year. The occasion was first introduced to the Danish public in 1929. During this season, bakeries and florists are often particularly busy, as cakes and flowers are a popular gift for moms. 

Similar to Swedish children, Danish children serve their mothers breakfast in bed, and treat them to a day free of chores and tidying. Sometimes, special “Mors Dag” cakes are produced by local bakeries, or made at home, featuring fun messages and delicious flavors. 

Interestingly, Denmark also has a tradition of producing commemorative plates for Mother’s Day. The Royal Copenhagen Porcelain Company has produced a new plate every year since 1969. These plates are frequently purchased by collectors and given as gifts on Mother’s Day. 

Mother’s Day in Norway

Unlike the majority of other Scandinavian and Nordic countries, Norway celebrates Mother’s Day, or “Morsdag” on the second Sunday of February each day. The first celebration was a religious one, which first took place on the 19th of February, 1919. 

In Norway, the traditions which take place on Mother’s Day are similar to those elsewhere in the world. Mom’s often receive breakfast in bed, with freshly brewed coffee and tasty bread rolls. Children also give gifts of baked goods, chocolates, and flowers traditionally, as well as hand-made cards. Cakes and pastries are particularly popular in Norway on Mother’s Day. 

Not only do local bakeries whip up a variety of beautiful cakes for the occasion, but children and fathers often work together to create their own amazing goods from scratch. One of the most popular options is the Verdens Beste Kake. 

Mother’s Day in Finland

In Finland, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May, and it’s known as Äitienpäivä. Though the occasion has been observed in Finland since 1918, it only became an official holiday much later, in 1947. Similar to Denmark, Finland hosts Mother’s Day as a “flag day”, which means Finnish flags are often used to decorate cities and streets. 

The tradition of Mother’s Day in Finland began when a teacher named Vilho Reima brought it to the country after the independence war. The school landscape is still a popular place for Mother’s Day celebrations today, with many schools hosting special gatherings with tea, coffee, and baked goods. 

On the day itself, traditional customs revolve around pampering the mother with breakfast in bed, DIY cards, flowers, and chocolates. There are even concerts, parties and events hosted for Mother’s Day throughout Finland. Additionally, each year, the president honors around 30 mothers and mother figures with “White Rose” medals, symbolizing their achievements.

Mother’s Day in Iceland

Finally, Mother’s Day, or Mæðradagurinn in Iceland is celebrated on the second Sunday of May. Adopted from the traditional American holiday, it was first introduced to the country during 1934. However, today, it’s still not recognized as an official holiday in the country. That doesn’t stop families across Iceland from celebrating Mother’s Day, however. 

Like in most parts of Scandinavia, Mother’s Day in Iceland focuses on treating the mother to baked goods, flowers, treats, and delicious cooked meals. While Iceland doesn’t have many unique traditions in place for Mother’s Day, children still make efforts to make the event as special as possible.

Hand-drawn pictures, arts, and crafts, and special trips to various locations around Iceland are often common on this day. Some cafes and bakeries even host special events specifically for Mother’s Day, so families can enjoy a meal in style. 

Celebrating Mother’s Day Across Scandinavia

Scandinavian cultures are excellent at adding their own unique personality to major days and celebrations. While each Scandinavian country has a variety of different special days to celebrate, the locals still observe a number of the major days we enjoy all across the globe. 

If you’re looking for a unique way to celebrate your mother this year, why not arrange your own Scandinavian celebration, just in time for Mother’s Day? 

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