As we approach the time of year when we show appreciation for our mums, our step-mums, or those who stand in as our mums, I’ve taken a look at the history behind Mother’s Day.
Traditionally known as “Mothering Sunday” in the UK, Mother’s Day has been celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent since the 16th century.
It was originally a day to give thanks to the Virgin Mary, also known as “Mother Mary”. People in the UK would return on the fourth Sunday of Lent for a service at their “mother church”: the church where one was baptised, or the local parish church, or the nearest cathedral. People who did this were said to have “gone a-mothering”.
Over time, the day became known as “Mothering Sunday”, and became a day when domestic servants were given a day off to visit their “mother church”, usually joined by their own mothers, their children, and other family members. Because the day was a rare opportunity for a family get-together, the focus of the day shifted to visiting not just the “mother church”, but one’s own mother and on the way to the church, people gathered wildflowers to leave in the church and to present to their mothers.