Arabic Language Blog

Mother’s Day: how did it start? (part 1) Posted by on Mar 22, 2021 in Arabic Language, Culture, History, Pronunciation, Vocabulary

Welcome to a new post. Yesterday, the Arab world celebrated Mother’s Day عيد الأم. As you probably know, countries around the world celebrate this occasion on different dates في تواريخ مختلفة and in different ways بطرق مختلفة . Below is a video clip, by Cairo Time, which briefly talks about this difference. In today’s post and next week’s, we will learn about these differences and look at some of the key words around this topic.


Photo by Ashton Mullins on Unsplash


The video clip – see below – is just under 2-minute long and is titled:


كيف بدأ عيد الأم؟

How did Mother’s Day start?


*The clip is slightly fast paced, but you can slow it down and follow the subtitles provided.

= = = = = =

*In addition to the Arabic word of “Umm” أم  to refer to a mother, you will hear in the clip two nicknames or terms of endearment that people use instead of mom/mother, and these are:


ست الحبايب Sitt  El-habayeb

 It means: the great mother or the of the queen/best of beloved ones

ستّ الكُلّ Sitt  El-kull

It means: the one and onlythe lady of all

= = = = = =

Let’s now move on to the video>>



Keywords الكلمات الرئيسية:


Below is a list of the main words (in Arabic & English) that are used in the clip to talk about this day and the meaning behind it.


English Arabic



Her children



She raised them



She brought them up (made them grow)



They grew up



We express



Our appreciation



to our mothers



And to their role



It celebrates



She cared of her

اهتمّت بيها


She took care of her



The most compassionate creature

أحنّ مخلوق


Honouring ceremony

حفلة تكريم


She honoured her



Official holiday

إجازة رسمية


National Day

مناسبة قومية





Love you unconditionally

يحبك بدون مقابل


Will never forsake you

عمره ما يستغنى عنك


Your respect of her

احترامك ليها





You give to her



= = = = = =


Matching Exercise تمرين توصيل:


Part (A)


On the right below, there is a list of some of the countries mentioned in the clip. On the left, a brief statement on how each celebrates Mother’s Day – in Arabic and English.

*Match each country with the way it celebrates Mother’s Day.


The way of celebration


طريقة الاحتفال

Country الدولة

Red Tulip meal


شعائر دينية ورقص في الشوارع



The mother stays relaxed in bed and eats breakfast there


كيك (كعكة) على شكل وردة


A rose-shape cake



تبقى الأم في مرتاحة في السرير، وتتناول الفطور هناك


Religious rites & dancing in the streets


أكلة وردة القرنفل الحمراء


= = = = = =


Part (B)


On the right below, there is a list of some of the countries mentioned in the clip. On the left, the date on which Mother’s Day is celebrated in that country.

*Match each country with the day on which it celebrates Mother’s Day.


يوم الاحتفال  The celebration day


Country الدولة

آخر أحد من مايو

The last Sunday of May



ثاني أحد من مايو

The second Sunday of May



٢١ مارس



آخر أحد من مايو

The last Sunday of May



ثاني أحد من مايو

The second Sunday of May


= = = = = =


Stay tuned for next week’s post to learn more and check your answers 🙂



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About the Author: Hanan Ben Nafa

Hi, this is Hanan :) I'm an Arabic linguist. I completed my PhD in Linguistics - 2018. My PhD thesis was entitled Code-switching as an evaluative strategy: identity construction among Arabic-English bilinguals. I'm also a qualified public service translator & interpreter.