6 Things You May Not Know About Mother’s Day/Mothering Sunday – 11 March 2018

Mothering Sunday heralds the beginning of Spring with many people treating their mums to a bouquet of flowers or a meal out on this day.  The shops are also packed with numerous gift ideas.  However, it’s interesting to delve back in time to discover something about the origins of Mother’s Day and how it was celebrated before the days of rampant commercialism.

– In the 1600s Mothering Sunday took place on the 4th Sunday of Lent.  On this day people would visit their “mother” church for a prayer service in honour of the Virgin Mary.  This was an occasion for honouring mothers and giving them gifts. Daughters who were working as domestic servants were given the day off to visit their families. As they walked home along country lanes, wild flowers were picked to give to their mother.

– Simnell Cake has been eaten on Mothering Sunday since Medieval times. This is a type of fruit cake with two layers of almond paste. There’s a legend that a man called Simon and his wife Nell argued over whether the cake for Mothering Sunday should be baked or boiled. In the end they did both, so the cake was named after them – SIM-NELL.

– Motherhood was thought to be celebrated in Ancient Greece. According to Greek Mythology, Spring Festivals were held in honour of the maternal goddess called Rhea – who was the wife of Cronus (God of Time) and believed to be the mother of many deities.

– In 250 BC The Romans celebrated a Spring Festival called Hilara. This was dedicated to a mother goddess called Cybele. During a 3 day festival, her followers would make offerings at the temple, hold parades, play games and also have masquerades.

– It was not until the beginning of the 20th century that a push was made for official recognition of Mothers Day. Constance Smith, a vicar’s daughter from Nottinghamshire, was inspired to start a Mothering Day Movement after reading an article on Anna Jarvis and her campaign for an official day to honour mothers in the US.  Smith publicised her cause through a leaflet about the day and its traditional observance throughout the UK entitled – The Revival Of Mothering Sunday – published in 1920.  The movement succeeded in establishing Mothering Sunday which was widely celebrated throughout the British Empire.

– Apart from Mother’s Day and Mothering Sunday – it has also been known as Laetare Sunday, Refreshment Sunday, Rose Sunday and the Sunday of the Five Loaves.

– Other Worldwide Celebrations: Japan has its festival of the Empress Kojun’s birthday – know as Haha No Hi – which has become just as commercialised as Mother’s Day in the West. Spain and Portugal celebrate on 8th December by honouring both the Virgin Mary and their own mothers.  In Mexico on 10th May, Dias de las Madres, it is customary for mothers to be serenaded with a song “Las Manaitas” often with a mariachi band.  Hindus in India celebrate the goddess Durga, or Divine Mother, during a 10 day festival called Durga Puja in October.  In Ethiopia, Mother’s Day is celebrated at the end of the rainy season as part of a three day Antrosht Festival, dedicated to mums.  In Serbia, Mother’s Day takes place in December and is part of a series of national holidays including Children’s Day and Father’s Day.

A Regal Mother – Statue of The Queen Mother and her husband King George VI – unveiled by HM The Queen in 2009

Mothers Day Gift Ideas

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