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Understanding and Celebrating Mothering Sunday

Do you celebrate Mothering Sunday? If so, how?

The date of Mothering Sunday changes every year, as it is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent, which is also three weeks before Easter Sunday.

Originating in the 16th Century it was a day to honour and give thanks to the Virgin Mary, also known as Mother Mary. Such celebrations required people, who were working away, to return home to visit their ‘mother’ church – the main church or cathedral in a family’s area. 

As people returned home to their family, they would pick flowers along the way.

It was also known as ‘Refreshment Sunday’ – being the mid-lean Sunday it was where fasting could be ‘eased’ for the day and people could enjoy a delicious meal together as a family. It was an opportunity to temporarily indulge in some special rich food for the day, breaking up the hard slog of lent. The mother would be made to feel the queen of the feast.

Another common name was ‘Simnel Sunday’ where families would gather with Simnel cakes. These are made of two rich fruity layers that are boiled in water and then baked, before having almond paste spread on top and in the middle of the layers. Traditionally the cake would have been decorated with 11 balls of marzipan to represent the 11 disciples (not including Judas).

Mothering Sunday is a day where we honour mothers and other mother figures, such as grandmothers, stepmothers and mothers-in-law. We usually make a special effort to visit them, or find other ways of showing our love, gratitude and appreciation.

This article was written by Karen Robinson, formerly a Registered Osteopath.