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Mother's Day in Australia

Many Australians celebrate Mother’s Day by showing their appreciation for the achievements and efforts of mothers and mother figures. It is annually observed in Australia on the second Sunday of May.

Is Mother's Day a Public Holiday?

Mother's Day is not a public holiday. It falls on Sunday, May 12, 2019 and most businesses follow regular Sunday opening hours in Australia.

Children and mother playing with letters
Many Australians celebrate Mother's Day on the second Sunday of May.
Many Australians celebrate Mother's Day on the second Sunday of May.
©iStockphoto.com/matka_Wariatka

What Do People Do?

Many people appreciate their mothers or mother figures, which include stepmothers, relatives, guardians (eg. foster mothers), and close family friends. Some organizations have Mother’s Day patrons who work together with the media and general community to raise awareness on Mother’s Day events that aim to raise funds for charitable or non-profit causes.

Mother’s Day events and activities may include:

  • Organized walks or runs to raise money for causes such as breast cancer research.
  • Visits to the zoo, movies, or botanical gardens, or other places of interest.
  • Breakfasts, brunches, lunches, afternoon teas or dinners at restaurants, cafes, or at home.
  • Handmade gifts or cards being presented to mothers or mother figures.
  • Flowers, chocolates, clothing, gift vouchers and other gifts that are given to mothers or mother figures.
  • Mother’s Day poems being printed, broadcast, or presented to mothers and mother figures.
  • Mother’s Day stories being publicized in magazines, newspapers, radio, television or the internet.

Many families may also spend the day having a picnic in the park or the beach on Mother’s Day, if the weather allows it. Father’s Day is also celebrated in Australia on the first Sunday of September to honor fathers and father figures.

Public Life

Mother’s Day is not a federal holiday but it is on a Sunday, when many organizations, schools, and government offices are closed. Public transport systems run to their normal Sunday schedules and restaurants or cafes may be busier than usual as some people take their mothers out for a treat. Shops and department stores may also be busy in areas where there is Sunday trading.

Background

Many Australians follow the Mother’s Day traditions that stem from observances in countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. The Mother’s Day date in Australia is the same as the date observed in the United States, which is the second Sunday of May each year. However, it is an Australian who is credited with having started the tradition of giving gifts on Mother's Day: Janet Heyden, a resident of Leichhardt Sydney, started a campaign in 1924 to collect gifts for lonely aged mothers.

Symbols

Flowers, chocolates, and cards are popular gifts to symbolize one’s love and appreciation for their mother or mother figure. The carnation is a type of flower that is particularly symbolic of Mother’s Day for some people.  Its importance as a Mother’s Day symbol is linked to Anna Jarvis, who is believed to have sent white carnations for a Mother’s Day service in West Virginia, in the United States, on May 10, 1908.

About Mother's Day in other countries

Read more about Mother's Day.

Mother's Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010SunMay 9Mother's DayObservance 
2011SunMay 8Mother's DayObservance 
2012SunMay 13Mother's DayObservance 
2013SunMay 12Mother's DayObservance 
2014SunMay 11Mother's DayObservance 
2015SunMay 10Mother's DayObservance 
2016SunMay 8Mother's DayObservance 
2017SunMay 14Mother's DayObservance 
2018SunMay 13Mother's DayObservance 
2019SunMay 12Mother's DayObservance 
2020SunMay 10Mother's DayObservance 

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