Celebrating Mother's Day in Greece

The famous windmills in Mykonos, Greece.
••• Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

Mother's Day in Greece is much like Mother's Day everywhere - an excuse to buy flowers, candy, and other gifts all to honor dear Mom. It was created in the U.S. by an American woman, Anna Jarvis, who wished to honor the memory of her own deceased mother, an earlier crusader for a "mother's friendship day", by creating a holiday to remind everyone to appreciate their own mothers. At first, it was a private holiday, but Jarvis campaigned for it to be a national holiday.

Her cause soon caught on and in 1914 it was declared an official day for honoring mothers in the United States. Since then, the custom of honoring mothers on Mother's Day has spread around the world, including Greece.

But in Greece, mothers have always occupied positions of honor, and one of the most famous mothers, Demeter, had days of festivals and celebrations in May marking the successful conclusion of a very complicated mother-daughter tale, that of the Abduction of Persephone. Some take the origins of the holiday back still farther, to Rhea, Mother of Zeus, and to the mother-goddess honoring culture of the ancient Minoans on the island of Crete. And the idea of a "sexy mom" may derive from Aphrodite herself, the mother of the Greek god of love, Eros, better known under the name Cupid as he was called by the Romans.

In the Greek Orthodox faith, February 2nd, the Presentation of Jesus to the Temple, is sometimes seen as a version of "Mother's Day" without its secular and commercial components.

How to Greek Up Your Own Mother's Day Celebration

  • Rent "Mamma Mia the Movie!" or take mom to see the live musical.
  • Bring baklava instead of candy
  • Take her out for a Greek dinner
  • Just take her to Greece

A Mother and Sons Tale of Traveling in Greece, now and then is worth reading. It's a charming tale of a mother and son and their joint travels in Greece, both in his toddler days and later as a middle-aged man.

If you're traveling in Greece, the major international hotels serving English-speaking guests will usually offer special mother's day dinners and other festivities. Some independent restaurants may do the same, but it is not likely in smaller places. It's still a secondary holiday and one more likely to be celebrated by Greeks with relatives abroad in the United States, Britain, and Australia. Of course, with the Greek diaspora putting more Greeks outside of Greece than inside its borders, there are quite a few of those.

And if you're traveling in Greece without your mother? Here's how to call home! Being in Greece is no excuse not to call your mother on Mother's Day.

Plan Your Own Trip to Greece

Find and Compare Flights To and Around Greece: Athens and Other Greece Flights - The Greek airport code for Athens International Airport is ATH.

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