Post Tagged with "Traditions"

French Mother’s Day – Fête des Mères

France celebrates Mother’s Day - Fête des Mères on June 3.

Celebrating women is not a modern concept! It goes back to the Greek mythology when Rhea, the mother of all gods and goddesses was duly celebrated during spring.

The Romans took over the celebration and the cult of Cybele, the mother of all the Roman gods, survived until the 4th century AD!

Ink 96645mm happy mothers day

Mother's Day Card

The French thought of celebrating the Mums and their families as early as in 1806 when Napoleon I intended to implement an official date! But History decided otherwise!

The next attempt to create a Mother’s Day occurred in 1906, a century later, in the little village of Artas in the department of Isère and at the instigation of a man named Prosper Roche who founded the Union Fraternelle in order to pay tribute to the parents of large families.

Artas has since been recognised as the cradle of the French Mother’s  Day celebration.

Mothers Day card

Mother's Day Card

The city of Lyon followed the example and organised a Mother’s Day in 1918 to pay tribute to all the women who lost a son or/and a husband during World War I, a conflict during which the loss in human lives was astronomical.

A couple of years later a Mother’s Day celebrating the women of large families was implemented in order to encourage women to have children and repopulate a country that had lost 10% of its active male population! The celebrations included the award of a medal “Médailles de la Famille Française” to those who had many children.

Mothers' Day Cake crop

Mothers' Day Cake

However, it was not before 1929 that the Fête des Mèresbecame an official celebration.

It didn’t become part of our calendar until 1941, though, when Marshal Pétain re-launched the celebration during World War II, once more in order to encourage the repopulation of the country!

The notion of family and housewife were to become the base of the French society for the years to follow.

The celebration was very controversial at the time, not only because it had been implemented by the Regime of Vichy, but also because many thought that it was a sexist concept that denied emancipation to women, in other words that recognised them only good enough to have children, cook and clean.

Mother's Day

Mother's Day gifts, the way it should be!

Men seemed to forget that women had been working in factories to replace the men who were fighting at the front, they had contributed to the war effort, they had proven that they were equal to men and now they were asked to return to their cooking!

The stigma remained for a few years only as women’s suffrage was granted by General De Gaulle at the end of the war (better late than never!) and they painfully but successfully gained their emancipation!

On May 24, 1950 Mother’s Day was officially decreed by law and fixed to the last Sunday of May and has become one of the most popular French celebrations.

If the last Sunday of May happens to be celebrated on that same Sunday Mother’s Day is then postponed until the first Sunday in June.

Homemade Mother's Day Gift Cookie Bouquet

Mother's Day home-made gift

We all love the Fête des Mères in France!

The only downside is that, like everywhere around the world, it has been taken over by a vulgar mercantilism. Children can’t anymore get away with giving their Mum a little bunch of flowers they picked in the garden or a necklace made with noodles but they have to break their piggy bank to buy a designer item! Perfume is nice, but a noodle necklace made with love is priceless.

Source photos Wikimedia Commons: Photo#1 Happy Mother’s Day Attribution Public Domain Photo#2 Mother’s Day Card Attribution Photo#3 Mothers’ Day Cake Attribution Photo#4 Mother’s Day gifts Attribution Photo#5 Mother’s Day cookie bouquet Attribution


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June 2, 2012 Comments disabled

April Frost and Three Saints known as Lune Rousse and Saints de Glace in France

April Frost – Lune Rousse

In France April Frost is known as Lune Rousse (Ginger Moon). It corresponds to the New Moon that starts after Easter, generally between April 5 and May 5, and lasts of course for the entire cycle of the moon. In 2012 April Frost will last from April 21 to May 20!

Night frost and cold winds are normally paired with this phase which is bad news for gardeners as new shoots get frost –damaged if not protected at night.

French calendar , 11-12-13 May 2011, the Three Saints days are marked with a small SG*, Note that Ste Rolande has been replaced by Fete de jeanne D'Arc

French calendar: 11-12-13 May 2012 with the Saints de Glace marked with a small SG*


May 11, 2012 4 comments

Saudi Arabian naming traditions

Following on from our post about traditions for naming children around the world, PocketCultures reader Yousef who is from Saudi Arabia submitted this post about what happens when a child is born in his country.

Amir Sultan street, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, most names are either taken from history or religion. For instance, the most common name in Saudi Arabia is Mohammed. It is chosen by most people in memory of the prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him). Other names come from the name of the prophets such as Moussa (Moses), Issa (Jesus), Dawood (David), and Yahya (John).


March 16, 2012 Comments disabled

Cultural expertise quiz will be back soon

In last week’s quiz we asked how to greet older relatives in Turkey.

The answer is: true. Sinan wrote:

It is a Turkish tradition and is also applicable to any elderly person of either sex.


July 5, 2011 Comments disabled

Naming children: traditions in 13 different countries

How are children’s names chosen in your country? Do you follow ancient naming traditions or are modern names more popular? Do you pass names down through family generations or invent new ones?

We’ve had a lot of fun writing this post and the subject of how children are named in our various countries has inspired a lot of discussion within our team of contributors. So, read on to find out how children’s names are chosen in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Turkey and the USA.

Have something to add? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.


By Ana, regional contributor from Argentina.

There aren’t many clear-cut naming traditions in Argentina nowadays. In the past, first-born babies were named after their parents but now the focus is on distinctiveness. Parents choose names they like or that are fashionable. For example, when Argentinean-born Maxima Zorriegueta married Crown Prince Wilhelm-Alexander of the Netherlands, the name Maxima became very popular.


April 13, 2011 29 comments

Quebrada de Humahuaca: hidden Argentina

Have you ever heard of Quebrada de Humahuaca? This magical place high up in the Andes has been inhabited for the last ten thousand years, where traces of pre-Hispanic civilizations and their culture can still be seen today. Also, this mountain valley located in the province of Jujuy in northwest Argentina is the tail end of the famous Inca Trail (Camino del Inca). It was part of a major trade route used from prehistoric hunter-gatherers to traders and officials of the Inca Empire to modern-day tourists.

where is Quabrada de Humahuaca?Quebrada de Humahuaca was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003 because, among other things, it has been “a crucial passage for the transport of people and ideas from the high Andean lands to the plains.” According to UNESCO, the place’s “distinctive pre-Hispanic and pre-Incan settlements” form a dramatic addition to the landscape.

The landscape is impressive. The word “quebrada” means deep valley or ravine. It’s famous for its multicolour mountains: each colour is the result of a different layer of sediments deposited over the last 600 million years. Successive tectonic plate movements gave them the shapes we see today.


May 5, 2010 5 comments