Mother's Day in Spain: Everything You Need to Know

Mother's Day breakfast in bed
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Mother's Day in Spain, known as Día de la Madre in Spanish, is celebrated on the first Sunday of May. In the past, it took place on December 8 every year until it was moved to the spring in 1965. This was done partly to disassociate the secular mother's celebrations from the Catholic holiday of the 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 don't leave it until the day itself to buy your flowers and presents.

Many stores will offer great deals on gifts in the weeks leading up to the day.

Mother's Day in Spain can sometimes coincide with the Mayday or Labor Day festivities on May 1, which is a public holiday. If public holidays like Labor 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 as well to give themselves an extra long weekend (this is known as a puente, or "bridge"). On 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 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023

  • 2019 May 5
  • 2020 May 3
  • 2021 May 2
  • 2022 May 1 (also Labor Day)
  • 2023 May 7

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

The usual gifts of flowers or candies are common in Spain, and some families exchange cards as well.

However, Spain does not have the same card-giving culture that's popular in English-speaking countries such as the United States and United Kingdom.

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.

When expressing your love for your mom, you should always say "te quiero" and not "te amo."  "Te quiero," which translates literally as "I want you," can come across as sexual to foreign ears. It can in fact be used that way in certain contexts, but it is not understood like this when talking to your mother and other family members. 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!

How to Celebrate Mother's Day in Spain

If you find yourself in Spain on the first Sunday in May with your own mom or another maternal figure, it's time to shower her with all the love she deserves. Here's how locals celebrate Mother's Day in Spain—join them and let Mom know how special she is.

  • Some things never change no matter where you are in the world. Starting her day off with a surprise breakfast in bed is sure to be appreciated.
  • Gifts are indeed commonly given on Mother's Day in Spain. However, most Spanish mothers tend to prefer something handmade from the heart, even if it's not the most expensive option available. Indulge your crafty side by making her something special yourself.
  • Many Spanish families take advantage of Sundays to spend time together and relax, and Mother's Day in Spain is no different. It's fairly common to head out to a special restaurant (bonus points if it's got a great outdoor terrace where you can enjoy the spring weather as you eat) for a meal with the whole family.
  • Some families will also treat Mom to a special spa day on Mother's Day in Spain, either by sending her off to a therapeutic destination with a gift voucher, or by pampering her at home. 

As you can see, there's really no wrong way to celebrate Mother's Day in Spain. Just be sure to let your mom (or mom-like figure) know how much you care—she's sure to appreciate it no matter what.

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