Interesting Facts about Mothers Day
Why do we have mother’s Day ?
Although Laetare Sunday – the fourth Sunday of Lent – had been associated with mothers and family since medieval times, it wasn’t until the beginning of the 20th century that a push towards an official day celebrating mothers in the UK was started. Constance Smith – a vicar’s daughter from Nottinghamshire, was inspired to start the Mothering Day Movement after reading an article on Anna Jarvis and her campaign for an official day to honour mothers in the United States.
Constance Smith was a High Anglican and believed that the liturgy of the Church of England for the fourth Sunday of Lent truly captured the idea of a day honouring mothers. So, when choosing the date for Mothering Sunday in England, she went back to the Laetare Sunday, which was when children who worked away from home received a day off to visit their mothers and the mother church or cathedral.
Some quick facts
Mother’s Day is one of the most popular days of the year for eating out, so if you want to treat your mum, you had better book a table early!
Mother’s Day is one of the biggest occasions for gift giving and card sending after Christmas.
Mothering Sunday is sometimes known as Simnel Sunday or Refreshment Sunday, due to the practice of baking Simnel cakes to celebrate the reuniting of families during the austerity of Lent. Nowadays Simnel cakes are more usually associated with Easter.
Mothering Sunday was originally the day when in 16th Century Christian practice one would make an annual visit to one’s mother church, which meant that most mothers would be reunited with their children on this day. Later it was the one day a year when servants were allowed to visit their families.
We’ve been celebrating Mother’s Day as far back as the Ancient Greeks, who celebrated the Mother of the Gods, Rhea, at an annual Spring festival, by eating and drinking the finest food and wine.
On average in Britain we spend twice as much on Mother’s Day as we do on Father’s Day.
It has Many Names
In addition to Mothering Sunday, Laetare Sunday is also known as Refreshment Sunday, Rose Sunday, and the Sunday of the Five Loaves. Refreshment Sunday expresses the break from Lent which the Church takes, opening mass, allowing weddings, and waiting for Easter, as it is now closer in sight. There are two interpretations to the meaning of Rose Sunday – on the one hand, priests are allowed to wear rose-coloured liturgical garments instead of the traditional violet ones, and the fourth Sunday of Lent was also when the golden rose sent by popes to Catholic sovereigns was blessed. Sunday of the Five Loaves, as you can easily guess, refers to the feeding of the multitude and the miracle of the five loaves and two fish.
It does not Fall on the Same Day Each Year
What makes Mothering Day different from Mother’s Day is not only the name. In the US, Mother’s Day was proclaimed in 1914 by the President Wilson to be held on the second Sunday of May, the day being chosen as Anna Jarvis’ own mother had died on the 9th of May. Choosing the date for an official day in praise of mothers in England was religiously conditioned to be the fourth Sunday of Lent, so now Mothering Day is on a different date every year, depending on Lent calendar.
In addition to picking flowers to hand to their mothers at home, young girls working as domestic servants also brought products from their masters’ larders to bake a special Mothering cake or Simnel cake – a fruit dessert topped with marzipan and decorated with flowers, either fresh or crystallised. Simnel cakes were one of Mothering Sunday traditions in the UK which outlived the Reformation. During the Victorian era, little marzipan balls were added as decoration to symbolise the Apostles. Later on, Constance Smith re-introduced them again as part of the day honouring mothers. Nowadays, these rich almond cakes are also called Easter cakes
England was the First Country to Dedicate a Day to Mothers
Unlike Anna Jarvis in America, Constance Smith did not start an entirely new movement for a day to honour mothers in the UK. What she actually did was to bring back a century-old tradition, as the title of her booklet The Revival of Mothering Sunday, written in 1920, shows. Mothering Sunday was celebrated in England as early as the 17th century, making it the first country in the world to have a special day in praise of mothers.