Mother's Day Phrases & Messages in Spanish

Instructor: Lindie Alvey Kusky

Lindie is an educator and translator who speaks five languages. She has a Master's in Spanish Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition and a CELTA Cambridge credential.

This lesson discusses Mother's Day (''El día de las madres'') along with its traditions and vocabulary, including the things mothers do for their children, gift ideas, and some phrases we can use to thank them.

Mothers Celebrated World Wide

To whom do you owe your very life? Why your mother, of course! In this lesson, we will discuss El día de las madres (Mother's Day), including some of the wonderful things our moms do and have done for us, some great gift ideas, and some kind and loving words to say.

Did you know that the word 'mother' begins with 'm' in most languages of the world? Spanish is no exception: 'mother' is madre (MAH-dray) and 'mom' is mamá (mah-MAH). Make sure to place the accent mark on mamá, so you don't embarrass yourself. Mama, without the accent, means 'breast'!

Mother's Day is celebrated in close to fifty countries of the world, including Spain and the countries of Latin America, but it's not celebrated on the same date everywhere. In fact, there is a Mother's Day celebration, somewhere around the world, eight months out of the year.

What To Thank Mom For

Why celebrate our moms? Well, you might want to thank your mom for some of the following. Feel free to say to her:

  • Gracias, mamá por tu _____ (for a singular noun)
  • Gracias, mamá por tus _____ (for a plural noun)

which means 'thank you, mom for your…' and finish the sentence with one of the words below:

Spanish Pronunciation English
Trabajo (m) trah-BAH-hoh Work
Abnegación (f) ahb-nay-gah-SYON Selflessness
Parto (m) PAHR-toh Childbirth
Cansancio (m) kahn-SAHN-syoh Exhaustion
Cariño (m) kar-EE-nyoh Affection/Care
Amor (m) ah-MOHR Love
Besos (mpl) BAY-sohs Kisses
Abrazos (mpl) ah-BRAH-sohs Hugs

Possible Gifts

Mother's Day is a time to spoil your mom. In Mexico, you greet your mother in the morning with una canción, (oona cahn-SYOHN, 'a song'), called 'Las Mañanitas' (The Dawn), which also happens to be Mexico's birthday song. Schools put on special festivals and help the children make special gifts.

The Dominican Republic has a special song called 'El Himno de Las Madres' (The Hymn of the Mothers) which is taught in schools and even sung in churches. This song is as well-known as 'Happy Birthday.'

Don't feel like singing for mom? You'll need to come up with something else:

Spanish Pronunciation English
La tarjeta lah tar-HAY-tah Card (greeting card)
La tarjeta de regalo lah tar-HAY-tah day ray-GAH-loh Gift card
Las flores lahs FLOH-rays Flowers
La manicura lah mah-nee-KOO-rah Manicure
La pedicura lah peh-dee-KOO-rah Pedicure
El masaje ehl mah-SAH-hay Massage
Una caja de bombones oona KAH-hah day bom-BOH-nays A box of chocolates
Comer en un restaurante ko-MAYR ehn oon rehs-tow-RAHN-tay To eat at a restaurant
Un regalo oon ray-GAH-loh A gift
Regalar ray-gah-LAHR To give someone (as a gift)
Festejar fehs-tay-HAHR To celebrate
Merecer un descanso may-ray-SAYR oon days-CAHN-soh To deserve a break

Translation: A box of chocolates
chocolates

Common Phrases to Say to Mom

Did you know that international call volume is higher on Mother's Day than on any other day of the year? Here are some wonderful things to say:

  • ¡Feliz día de las madres! (Happy Mother's Day!)
  • Gracias por todo lo que me has hecho (Thanks for all you've done for me)
  • Estoy agradecido/agradecida por todo tu trabajo (I'm thankful for all your work)
  • Eres la mejor mamá del mundo (You're the best mom in the world)
  • Mamita (An extra-affectionate way of saying mom)
  • Te agradezco (I thank you)
  • Te amo (I love you)
  • Te admiro (I admire you)

Translation: I love you
Te amo

Dialogue

Catalina and her father, Juan Carlos, are discussing Mother's Day.

Juan Carlos: ¿Adónde fuiste esta tarde? (Where did you go this afternoon?)

Catalina: Al centro comercial. Tenía que comprar regalos para mamá. (To the mall. I had to buy gifts for mom)

Juan Carlos: ¿Por qué? (Why?)

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