What is Mothering Sunday?
Mothering Sunday dates back to the 16th century when it was simply a day to honor the mother churches. It was explicitly a religious event that started in the middle ages in the United Kingdom. Later on, the concept of mother’s day became an additional activity of Mothering Sunday.
The “mothering” refers to the “mother churches” where children were taken for baptism and became “a child of the church.” People used to visit their mother church on the fourth Sunday during Lent, which became a tradition and started Mothering Sunday.
Many often confuse Mothering Sunday with Mother’s Day, but they have different origin stories. But currently, the people of the UK celebrate it simultaneously and mix and match the activities.
Mothering Sunday All Quick Overview
- Category: Appreciation/Religious
- Where It’s Marked: The United Kingdom
- Why It’s Marked: The day is for honoring Virgin Mary, Cybele, the mother churches, and our mothers.
History Of Mothering Sunday
Mothering Sunday coincides with the Christian fasting period on the last Sunday during the season of Lent. Many believe the day's origin dates back to the 8th century because of its mention in the ancient Murbach Lectionary. So, Mothering Sunday was a celebration of the mother churches in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
History tells that Christians around the country would visit their mother churches on that Sunday where their baptism occurred. They would pray and worship in the main church or the church cathedral. This journey of the people was known as “going a mothering.”
By the 16th century, the pilgrimage had gained mass popularity, which made it a holiday. On this day, people would give their domestic maids and apprentices a day off to visit their “mother church” and spend time with their loved ones. Thus, the event became an annual holiday, and people would eagerly wait for the day.
The United Kingdom’s Mothering Sunday is an observance of many religious beliefs and activities. Christians pay respect to the Mother of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, on this day. The day also commemorates the noble feast of Jesus, where he fed 5,000 people and blessed them with a fasting break.
In 1908, after Anna Jarvis's mother's death, she established Mother's Day in the United States to mark her death. But, then Constance Penswick Smith created the Mothering Sunday Movement to foreshadow Mother’s Day and bring Mothering Sunday into the limelight again. Her goal was to rekindle the losing heritage of the UK.
Although the Mothering Sunday event had a strong following since the 16th century, its popularity started to fade by 1935. At that time, Americans and Canadians again introduced the concept of Mother’s Day during WWII. Mother’s Day became an important aspect for the people at war. It showed appreciation for the mothers who bravely permitted their children to partake in the war.
Not long after, the English and the Europeans followed in the same footsteps and celebrated Mother’s Day to thank their mothers. Thus, the day earned a thoughtful place in the UK calendar that coincided with Mothering Sunday.
People use Mothering Sunday and Mother's Day interchangeably, although the UK still celebrates Mothering Sunday on the last Sunday in the Lent season.
How to Celebrate Mothering Sunday
Mothering Sunday now celebrates all mothers, similar to Mother's Day traditions. It is the 3rd most widespread holiday to purchase greeting cards aside from Valentine's Day and Christmas. Children usually give handmade cards or gifts to their mothers on this day to show they care. Some may even take an advanced step and make breakfast in bed for their mother.
An old but tasty tradition of Mothering Sunday is baking a Simnel cake. This delicious fruit-filled cake is supposedly an Easter delicacy, but many bake the cake for their mothers to make up for the Lent season fasting. The cake also symbolizes the religious occurrence of Jesus Christ.
It has 11 marzipan balls representing Jesus’s eleven apostles during his ascend to heaven. It is a fantastic home-baked dish to give to your mothers.
People take the opportunity of Mothering Sunday as a way to reconnect with old friends and family members. They visit their "mother churches," where they get to meet many relatives and rekindle relationships. The Christians also eat and enjoy the day, having fun outside.
Many people arrange small parties for their mothers or offer them a relaxing day at home by doing all the chores. Many mothers do the opposite and celebrate the day by cooking special dishes for the whole family. Mainly, people show appreciation to their mothers on this day.
Countries that Observe Mothering Sunday
The United Kingdom observes Mothering Sunday every year. Aside from the UK, Ireland also participates in this event.
Interesting Facts about Mothering Sunday
Mothering Sunday has many interesting facts as its history is a long one. Here are some of the facts that you may enjoy.
- According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), people spend around £55 million on chocolates and £45 million on greeting cards for their mothers on Mother’s Day.
- Simnel Sunday and Refreshment Sunday are other names for Mothering Sunday.
- According to the Flowers & Plants Association of the United Kingdom, the flower industry notices a 40% increase in flower sales on Mothering Sunday or Mother’s Day.
- Anna Jarvis wanted everyone to celebrate their mothers, so Mother's Day is singular and not plural.
- Simnel cakes were previously a staple for Mothering Sunday, but now it is baked during Easter.
- Roses and chrysanthemums are the most sold flowers during the Mothering Sunday event. We have a theory! Maybe it is because chrysanthemums end with “mum.”
Unique Mothering Sunday Celebration Ideas
If you want to join the event of Mothering Sunday, here are some celebration ideas that will make the day memorable.
1. Visit your Mother's Church
Mothering Sunday is an opportunity for Christians to visit their mother church. That church is your earliest memory of where you had your baptism. Bring your family members and pray to the lord for his blessings on this day.
2. Observe fasting in Lent
Scientifically, fasting is good for the body as it regulates blood flow and helps to stay healthy. So, try to join in the fasting period in the Lent season. Then enjoy a break from fasting through Mothering Sunday.
3. Cook for your Mother
Mothers are unique and will always remain the most important people in our lives. So on Mothering Sunday, cook your mother’s favorite dishes, and don’t forget to whip up a Simnel cake.
Mothering Sunday Quotes
Wish your mother on this Mothering Sunday using quotes that truly speak for themselves. Here are some quotes for you.
“It may be possible to gild pure gold, but who can make his mother more beautiful?” — Mahatma Gandhi
“The influence of a mother in the lives of her children is beyond calculation.” — James E. Faust
“Mother is the heartbeat in the home; and without her, there seems to be no heartthrob.” — Leroy Brownlow
1. Are Mothering Sunday in the UK and Mother’s Day in the US different?
The events are not entirely different. They both have the same meaning of appreciating our mothers, but for the UK, it also means paying homage to "mother churches."
2. Why is Mothering Sunday also called Refreshment Sunday?
On Mothering Sunday, people enjoy a relaxing meal with various delicious food and a piece of Simnel cake. The activity is very refreshing during Lent fasting, so the day is also known as "Refreshment Sunday."
3. What other food is prepared on Mothering Sunday?
Aside from the famous Simnel cake, people make mothering buns, roasted meat, and other pastries.
Mothering Sunday Observances
|2021||Sunday||14 March||Mothering Sunday|
|2022||Sunday||27 March||Mothering Sunday|
|2023||Sunday||19 March||Mothering Sunday|
|2024||Sunday||10 March||Mothering Sunday|
|2025||Sunday||30 March||Mothering Sunday|
|2026||Sunday||15 March||Mothering Sunday|
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