An interesting fact is that the holiday actually did not begin as a day honouring all mothers. It all started in the 16th century, when people used to visit their “mother” church and attend a service held on Laetare Sunday – the fourth Sunday of Lent. Mother church was usually the one in which a person got baptized, or the nearest cathedral. It also had a symbolical meaning – the Church was depicted as a caring mother, who nourishes and protects believers. People observing this tradition were said to have gone “a-mothering”, and this is how the custom became known as Mothering Sunday. It was often the only day for the whole families to gather together, and many children picked up wild flowers to give to their mothers, which quickly became a tradition of Mothering Sunday.
Unfortunately, the holiday has lost some of its popularity over time. In 1914, however, when due to Anna Jarvis’s efforts Mother’s Day was officially proclaimed a holiday in the United States, the Mothering Sunday Movement was created in the United Kingdom. It was established by Constance Penswick Smith, who advocated the revival of the festival in her book. It was an opportunity for the merchants, so by the 1950s the holiday was observed all over the United Kingdom.
Even though a fast was traditionally observed during the Lent, on Mothering Sunday many people prepared a Simnel cake with fruits and marzipan. It is still associated with the holiday today. It is not a bank holiday in the United Kingdom, yet as it is a Sunday, it is still a great opportunity to visit the relatives and spend some time with family. It is also common to give small gifts or cards to mothers, and to take them out for a meal or coffee. Although the observance has become more commercialised nowadays, its religious roots are still remembered. Mothering Sunday is a great occasion to show love, appreciation and gratitude to our mothers for everything they have done and still do for all of us.
Did you know?
The fourth Sunday of Lent in the United Kingdom is not only known as Mothering Sunday. There are few other names connected with the day: Refreshment Sunday, Pudding Pie Sunday, Mid-Lent Sunday, Simnel Sunday, or Rose Sunday. Earlier it was also called the “Sunday of the Five Loaves”, which was connected with a gospel story.
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