The Celebration of Mother’s Day in Japan

Mother's Day Carnations Bouquet

Globally, Mother’s Day has always been seen as a day filled with love and care for the maternal figures in our lives – the Japanese are no different in this regard.

The meaning behind the Mother’s Day kanji

母の日 (ha no hi), or Mother’s Day in Japanese, is celebrated on the second Sunday in May each year. As not many people work on this day, it’s saved for celebrating with family members. The second kanji for Mother’s Day, 日 is the same as the second kanji for the word Japan. The meaning of this character is sun or day. Thus it has often been understood that the characters signify children rising early to greet their sun with some flowers and warm breakfast on this very special day.

Mother’s Day flowers & their meanings

Roses and carnations have become synonymous with Mother’s Day in Japan – with businesses and well known department stores choosing to decorate their window displays with these loving and nurturing flowers. Although not native to Japan, Mother’s Day has been adapted to suit Japanese culture and society.

Mother's Day red roses
Mother’s Day red roses

On this day, roses are symbolically gifted to show love, honour, faith, devotion and beauty. Alternatively, carnations can be presented – most popularly the red or pink variety; as they symbolise purity, sweetness and endurance. The act of giving flowers is a very popular thing to do to celebrate.

Mother's Day Carnations Bouquet
Mother’s Day Carnations Bouquet

Traditional Mother’s Day delicacies

As is common in the West, a variety of delicacies are prepared by the children, for their mother. In Japan, simple but flavourful dishes like sushi, miso and tamagoyaki are a common feature on menus on Mother’s Day. Other common activities include personalised arts and crafts as well as calligraphy gifts.

Special Gifts

If you are looking for something special and new, then you could consider one of our calligraphy tools and create a personalised message for your mother. Sushi making kits have become increasingly popular due to the demand for more family inclusive mother’s day activities. Whatever you decide to do to celebrate one of the most important people in your life, the Japan Centre wishes you a day filled with love, happiness and wonderful memories.

Mother's Day sushi making kit
Mother’s Day sushi making kit