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Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day 2020 and 2021

Japan celebrates Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May, the same day it is celebrated in much of the world. Mother’s Day is not a public holiday here, but it is usually quite relaxed due to falling on a Sunday.

YearDateDayHoliday
202010 MaySunMother's Day
20219 MaySunMother's Day

Japan originally celebrated Mother’s Day on 6 March because that was the birthday of Empress Kojun, Emperor Akihito’s mother. This tradition had taken firm hold by 1931, but it was discontinued during World War II in an effort to eliminate perceived Western influences. After the war, Mother’s Day was brought back in 1949 but on the second Sunday in May this time.

In Japan, children traditionally rise very early in the morning on Mother’s Day to greet Mum with a big “Happy Mother’s Day!” and hand her a bouquet of flowers. Red carnations are the preferred type of flowers to use for this day.

Then Mum is treated to a Mother’s Day breakfast, which typically includes eggs. This could be, for example, oyakodon or tamagoyaki. The former is a dish made of eggs, chicken, and rice, while the latter is a rolled-up Japanese omelet. Common gifts to give Mum for Mother’s Day include calligraphic Kanji messages, lacquer jewelry boxes, and clothing.