Mothering Sunday, or Mother’s Day?

February 8, 2017

Whatever you call it, it’s a day to celebrate our mums and show them just how much they’re appreciated. Traditionally known as Mothering Sunday, it’s a day to pamper and spoil the mums in your family – whether that maternal figure is your own mum, a stepmother, grandmother or in-law – but how much do you actually know about the origins of what, these days, we more commonly refer to as Mother’s Day? It may surprise you to know that it hasn’t always been about cards and flowers…

Falling around the end of March or early April in the UK, Mum’s special day is always held on the fourth Sunday of Lent – exactly three weeks before Easter. Its origins are religious, and the name ‘Mothering Sunday’ harks back to the days when people would, on this Sunday, visit their ‘mother’ church – or go ‘a-mothering’. The day was an opportunity for people to be with their families and for children who lived or worked away from home – perhaps in domestic service – to spend precious time with their mothers.

Nowadays, we associate the day with treating Mum. In America in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson established the first national ‘Mother’s Day’, proclaiming it an official holiday to honour mothers after a campaign by Anna Jarvis, who lobbied for the day after the death of her own mother. Anna Jarvis had intended it to be a day dedicated to sentiment though, and is known to have disapproved of giving flowers and pre-printed cards! In the US, Mother’s Day actually falls in early May, and the very first one was on Sunday 9th May.

In the UK, the more modern tradition made its way across the pond when a vicar’s daughter, Constance Smith, read a newspaper report about Anna Jarvis’s campaign. Constance pushed for the day to be marked in England, even penning a booklet called ‘The Revival of Mothering Sunday’. She revived some of the more religious traditions – like the gifting of simnel cakes – and by the late 1930s Mothering Sunday had become a popular celebration with Boy Scouts, Girl Guides and many parishes in Britain marking the day. By the 50s, it was being celebrated throughout the country and became much more commercial.

Today, lots of us know it by the adopted American term ‘Mother’s Day’ – although those true to tradition prefer Mothering Sunday. Everyone agrees though, it should be a peaceful day to show the mother-figures in our family just how much we love and appreciate them. A carefully chosen card, gift or bunch of bright, fresh flowers is sure to make mum’s day, but a little sentiment goes a long way, too. A card made by a toddler will be treasured forever, and the time and effort that goes into making a home-baked cake is sure to be appreciated – it’s one tradition we fully approve of!

Whatever you do for Mother’s Day, make it really special. Whether you like to give a luxurious ‘off-the-shelf’ gift to truly spoil your mum, or prefer to treat her to a little ‘me time’, a delicious dinner and a sweet slice of something home-made, you’ll find loads of Mothers’s day gifts, flowers, recipe ideas and inspiration at Lakeland to help you make Mum’s day.

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