Today is Mothers’ Day in most Arab countries


According to Wikipedia, Mother’s Day in most Arab countries is celebrated on 21 March. It was introduced in Egypt by journalist Mustafa Amin in his book (Smiling America) 1943. The idea was overlooked at the time, but when Amin heard the story of a widowed mother who devoted her whole life to raise her son until he became a doctor, got married and left without showing her any gratitude, Amin became motivated to promote for “Mother’s Day”. The idea was first ridiculed by president Gamal Abdel Nasser but he eventually accepted it and Mother’s Day was first celebrated on 21 March 1956. The practice has since been copied by the other Arab countries:

  • Bahrain
  • Egypt (initiator)
  • Iraq
  • Israeli Arabs
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Libya
  • Lebanon
  • Oman
  • Palestine
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Yemen

When Mustafa Amin was arrested and imprisoned, there were attempts to change the name of the holiday from “Mother’s Day” to “Family Day” as the government wished to prevent the occasion from reminding people of its founder. These attempts were unsuccessful and celebrations continued to be held on that day; classic songs celebrating mothers remain famous to this day.

On the occasion of Mothers’ Day, I offer all Mothers this lovely classic song by Faiza Ahmed:

5 thoughts on “Today is Mothers’ Day in most Arab countries

  1. Well Algeria is not part of “most Arab countries”. Mothers’ Day in Algeria is on the last Sunday of May. I wonder why they don’t celebrate it on the same day world-wide.
    Thanks for sharing, didn’t know about its story in Egypt.

    • I know yeah, I wonder where these differences come from? Apparently this Mustapha Amin was charged of spying for the US by Nasser, I wonder what he wrote in this book called ‘Smiling America’.

  2. Mothers have decided for the borders of the arab world… Al Maghrib is not arabi at least for this issue…

    Fresh and lovely post Algerianna.

    ça a peu à voir but the subject reminds me of the old song by Chaou and Nadia Ben Youcef sitting side by side as wled familiya exploring the extreme limits permitted of the man/woman duo in the algerian TV:

    • sitting side by side as wled familiya exploring the extreme limits permitted of the man/woman duo in the algerian TV

      lol oh come on, they are singing ‘respectfully’, koul wahad hakem qadrou. It’s a lovely song too, thanks for sharing.
      It seems only the Arab World celebrates Mothers Day on the 21st March, they didn’t even copy the date from the US like I assumed from the Wikipedia article. The Maghreb has joined the French camp on this issue.

      These things have a lot of political significance, depending on the countries which adopt them, this may be why the dates are different for every country as opposed to International Women’s Day which has one international date. The German story of Mother’s Day is particularly interesting as the Nazis seem to have confiscated this for ideological reasons.

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