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Muttertag: Mother's Day Terms and Expressions in German

written by: Bright Hub Education Writer • edited by: Rebecca Scudder • updated: 1/28/2013

Here is the vocabulary needed to greet and praise your mother in German. Learn about the history and German customs for Muttertag and enjoy a short poem.

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    Be Prepared to Honor Your Mother

    Muttertag or Mother's Day is celebrated in Germany on the second Sunday of May. Although Mother's Day is commemorated in many countries around the world, the dates vary. Spain celebrates Mother's Day on the first Sunday in May, Mexico always on the 10th of May and Argentine in October.

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    Words and phrases

    Die Mutter - mother

    Die Kinder - children

    Die Liebe - love

    Die Blume - flower

    Der Blumenstrauss - bunch of flowers

    Ich hab dich lieb - I love you

    Das Herz - heart

    Das Gefuehl - sentiment

    Der Kuss - kiss

    Die Umarmung - hug

    Das Gedicht - poem

    Das Geschenk - gift

    Der Sonntag - Sunday

    Der Mai - May

    Der Feiertag - bank holiday

    Die Feier - celebration

    Das Fruehstueck - breakfast

    im Bett - in bed

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    Brief History

    Although the ancient Greeks and Romans already dedicated gods and festivities to mothers, Mother's Day as we celebrate it today originated in the 20th century and, more generally, the women's movements in America and England. The 'founder' of Mother's Day is Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia. On May 9, 1907, she attended a memorial service for the second anniversary of the passing away of her mother and, on leaving church, distributed 500 white carnations to other mothers. The next year, the tradition continued and a special service was held in honor of all mothers. The tradition caught on and resulted in today's various Mother's Day celebrations in the month of May.

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    Die Muttertagsbraeuche - Mother's Day customs

    It's the children who honor and give thanks to their moms with good behavior, pampering, flowers, cards and gifts.

    Die Muttertagskarte - gift card

    Gutes Benehmen - good behavior

    Verwoehnen - pamper

    Die Nelke - carnation

    Die Muttertagsblume - Mother's Day flower

    In memory of Anna Jarvis, the traditional flower in Germany is the carnation. White carnations are reserved for dead mothers, the living ones receive red carnations and of course a big bunch of any other spring flowers and roses.

    Weiss - white

    Rot - red

    Die Rose - rose

    Fruehlingsstrauss - spring bouquet

    Breakfast in bed is another Mother's Day treat. In Germany, Mother's Day is very much a family day. At the beginning of May, the weather is warming up and the day is often used for excursions.

    Das Wetter - weather

    Die Sonne - sun

    Der Ausflug - excursion

    Der Spaziergang - walk

    Der Park - park

    As it is a Sunday, Muttertagsgottesdienste are often held and attended.

    Der Gottesdienst - church service

    Zur Kirche gehen - attending church

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    A poem

    No Mother's Day is complete without a poem. There is a rich choice of Muttertagsgedichte, from the classics to modern. Enjoy a very Hearts short one which, nevertheless, says it all.

    Was soll ich Dir sagen?

    What shall I say?

    Ein langes Gedicht?

    A long poem?

    Ich hab Dich lieb

    I love you

    mehr weiss ich nicht

    and that's all I know.

    Frohen Muttertag

    Happy Mother's Day.