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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in France series at FrenchPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind French holidays and observances. I’m Matt, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 14- Mother’s Day. In French, it’s called fête des Mères.
Do you celebrate Mother’s Day in your country? It’s an annual holiday celebrated on the last Sunday in May. In this lesson, we’re going to learn how French people celebrate it.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?
What’s special about French mothers from a demographic point of view?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Mother’s Day’s has existed since Ancient Greece. The Greeks would organize springtime ceremonies in honor of Rhea, or in French, Rhéa, the Grandmother to the gods, and Zeus’ mother. A Roman religious holiday also celebrated mothers on March 1 during Matronalia. In 1908, an American who had lost her mother one Sunday in May decided to honor her with Mother’s Day, and from then it became known and celebrated all around the world including France.
In France, the village of Artas boasts of itself as the “cradle of Mother’s Day,” or in French, berceau de la Fête des Mères. Indeed, in 1906, the village organized a ceremony in honor of mothers of large families.
In 1920, a Mother’s Day for mothers of large families was created. In French, a large family is called famille nombreuse. The government officially created Mother’s Day in 1929. As opposed to what is often shown in the media, Mother’s Day was created by the Head of the French Government and President of the Council, whose name was Maréchal Pétain. In 1941, the Vichy Regime simply put the holiday officially onto the calendar. After the war, the law set the date as the last Sunday of May.
Starting in kindergarten, or in French, école maternelle, French children create jewelry and write poems for their mothers. When children grow up, they give them bouquets of flowers or perfume. According to florists, the sales of bouquets of flowers for Mother’s Day represents at least 3% of their annual turnover. That means more than 500,000 bouquets sold just for this holiday!
There's even a French film based on Mother’s Day! It’s a comedy by the director Gérard Pirès and it was released in 1969. It’s simply called La Fête des Mères, meaning “Mother’s Day.” This film tells the story of a family reunited for this holiday, which turns into a very emotional day.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Do you what is special about French mothers from a demographic point of view?
What’s special about French mothers is that they have lots of children! Currently, along with Ireland, France has the highest fertility rate in the European Union.
How was this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
How do you celebrate Mother’s Day in your country?
Please leave a comment telling us at FrenchPod101.com, and we’ll see you next time!

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How do you celebrate Mother’s Day in your country?