When and How Is Mother's Day Celebrated in Spain?

Find out about Dia de la Madre dates and customs

Flowers are a common gift on Mother's Day in Spain
Virginia Monita/Creative Commons

Mother's Day in Spain, known as 'Dia de la Madre' in Spanish, is celebrated on the first Sunday of May. It took place on December 8 every year until 1965, when it was moved to its current date. This was done partly to disassociate the secular mother's celebrations from the Catholic honoring of Immaculate Conception.

Is Mother's Day a Public Holiday?

No. But Sundays, in general, tend to be pretty dead in most Spanish towns and cities, so I wouldn't leave it until the day itself to buy your flowers and presents.

Mother's Day in Spain can coincide with Mayday or Labor Day festivities, which is a public holiday. If public holidays like May Day fall on a Friday or a Monday, Spanish people will often take the whole weekend off, and if it falls on a Thursday or a Tuesday, a lot of businesses will also close for the Friday or the Monday too and have an extra long weekend (this is known as a puente or 'bridge'. In some occasions, when a public holiday falls on a Wednesday, people will take the days before or after it for a 'super puente'.

Mother's Day in Spain in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020

  • 2016 May 1 (also Labor Day)
  • 2017 May 7
  • 2018 May 6
  • 2019 May 5
  • 2020 May 4

What Gifts Are Common on Dia de la Madre in Spain?

The usual gifts of flowers or chocolates are common in Spain, as are cards. However, Spain does not have the same card-giving culture as, say, the United Kingdom does. 

Should I Say 'Te Quiero' or 'Te Amo' to My Mother on Mother's Day?

Both of these phrases translate as 'I love you', but they are used in different ways.

To your mother, you should always use 'te quiero' and not 'te amo'.  'Te quiero', which translates as 'I want you', can come across as sexual to foreign ears, and indeed, it can be used that way, but it is not taken like this when talking to your mother. However, 'te amo' is always used in a romantic sense and so is not appropriate when addressing your madre.

More Useful Spanish Words and Phrases for Mother's Day

  • Regalo - gift
  • Flores - flowers
  • Chocolate - chocolate
  • Feliz Dia de la Madre - Happy Mother's Day!

Do The Spanish Celebrate Father's Day Too?

Yes, they. Father's Day (Dia del Padre) is celebrated on March 19.