About Mother's Day
It is believed that Napoleon Bonaparte proposed France’s equivalent to Mother’s Day, “La Fête des Mères,” in 1806 as a way to encourage mothers to have more children.
However, the holiday wasn’t popularly celebrated until 1890, and wasn’t formally recognized by the government until 1920 when the administration began handing out awards to women who had “successfully raised several children.”
American soldiers stationed in France during World War I helped to bring many of the Mother’s Day traditions from the United States—like flowers, cards, and gifts—to the European country, which celebrates its holiday on the last Sunday in May or the first Sunday in June. France often celebrates the holiday with extravagant meals, and restaurants book up weeks in advance.
In French, “Happy Mother’s Day” translates to “Bonne Fête des Mères.”