Mother’s Day, or Mothering Sunday as it is more traditionally known, is an annual celebration where families up and down the UK pay tribute to the role mums play in their lives, giving thanks for everything they do. Similar celebrations also take place around the world but not necessarily on the same day.
In Britain, the date of Mother’s Day itself is not fixed but it always falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent, which this year is on March 30. The date varies as it depends on when Easter is, but if you’re keen to plan ahead then get March 30 next year in your diary as that is when Mother’s Day 2014 takes place.
Mothering Sunday is firmly rooted in Christianity and began life as a largely religious celebration before merging into the commercialised celebration we know today during the 20th century, taking inspiration from many of the traditions used to mark Mother’s Day in the USA.
Its religious origins are believed to date back to Roman times when a festival was held in mid-March to honour Cybele, the mother goddess. After Europe and Britain adopted Christianity, Laetare Sunday – the traditional name for the fourth Sunday of Lent – became the focus to continue mother-themed celebrations in honour of the Virgin Mary and the ‘mother church’.
As the centuries rolled on celebrations continued to be upheld and as far back as the 16th century it is believed that workers were given time off and families joined together and returned to their own ‘mother church’ – often where they were baptised or simply a large local church – to mark the fourth Sunday of Lent together.
Children picked flowers to decorate their church or give to their own mothers, a tradition which is still present these days, with mums everywhere looking forward to being given flowers on Mother’s Day.
These traditional celebrations had become less significant by the early part of the 20th century but, inspired by a burgeoning Mother’s Day movement in the USA and later influenced by visiting soldiers from north America during the Second World War.
A festival feel returned to Mothering Sunday which began to blend into the modern day Mother’s Day and with savvy businessmen embracing the commercial possibilities it had become a flourishing celebration once again by the middle of the 20th century and today continues to be a big day in the calendar for families around the country.
Gifts and Flowers
One of the biggest traditions these days on Mother’s Day is giving flowers. Mums around the world are often treated to bouquets of their favorites by sons and daughters showing their appreciation. In centuries gone by children picked their own flowers to give to their mothers or decorate the local church for Mothering Sunday services.
These days florists and shops specialise in preparing lavish and colourful arrangements of Mother’s Day flowers which can be delivered around the country, with many florists opening on the Sunday itself to carry out extra deliveries in order to meet the demand. Bouquets can be personalised as well with a thoughtful card or by choosing mum’s favorite colours to make up the bunch.
Other gifts are popular too for celebrating Mother’s Day, including boxes of chocolates, framed family photographs, pampering products or handmade presents from the kids. Millions of Mother’s Day cards are also sent every year, whether delivered by hand or posted home by those who can’t make it to spend the day with their beloved mums. But the other thing that many mother’s really relish about their special day is simply being able to relax while they are spoiled and looked after all day long.