Is Mother's Day a real holiday? Americans say yes

Linley SandersSenior Data Journalist
Jamie BallardData Journalist
May 04, 2021, 2:52 PM UTC

For many Americans, Mother’s Day is an occasion designed for celebrating motherhood and the women who raised them — but is it an actual holiday or just something that commercial entities promote? 

According to a YouGov poll of 2,056 US adults, three in five Americans (60%) believe that Mother’s Day is a “real” special occasion, including 63% of mothers. Three in 10 Americans (30%) tend to believe that the day is an occasion that people would not celebrate if it weren’t for pressure from commercial entities. A similar number of mothers (29%) tend to see it as more of a commercial holiday.

Older Americans are more likely than younger adults to consider Mother’s Day a legitimate holiday. Seven in 10 Americans aged 65 and above (71%) consider the day to be a real special occasion, compared to 27% who say otherwise. Three in five 45-to 64-year-olds tend to see Mother’s Day as a real holiday (62%), as do about half of 18-to 44 year-olds (53-54%). 

Even those who believe Mother’s Day is celebrated because of pressure from commercial entities intend to mark the day this year. Three in five Americans who believe that Mother’s Day is more of a commercial holiday (61%) still intend to do something to celebrate, compared to 32% who will not. 

Americans are more likely to believe Mother’s Day is a “real holiday” when compared to other celebrations that have come and gone, like Valentine’s Day. A separate YouGov poll from February found that most Americans (57%) say that Valentine’s Day tends to be celebrated because of pressure from commercial entities, rather than being a real special occasion (28%). 

See the toplines from this YouGov poll and sign up to be a panelist for YouGov Direct

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Methodology: 2,056 US adults, including 724 mothers of children of any age, were surveyed via YouGov Direct on April 25, 2021 between 7:20 and 7:42 EST. Data is weighted according to age, gender, education level, political affiliation, and ethnicity to be nationally representative of adults in the United States. The margin of error is approximately 3.2% for the overall sample and 5.3% for the sample of mothers. 

Image: Photo by Gift Pundits from Pexels