Mothering Sunday is a religious festival observed in the United Kingdom, with the aim of celebrating motherhood. It is celebrated in almost the same way as Mother's Day is celebrated in the other countries of the world. Mothering Sunday falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Previously celebrated in honor of Mother Mary, it has now become a day dedicated to all the mothers. On the Sunday, children give flowers, cards and other types of gifts to their mother, to express their love, appreciation and gratitude towards her. The date as well as the history behind the celebration of Mother's Day in Britain is different from that of other countries, though the basic aim of its celebration is the same..
Date of Mothering Sunday
In the United Kingdom, Mothering Sunday is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent period, also known as the fasting period. Owing to this, the date of the festival varies from one year to the other. Mothering Sunday is also known by the name of Mid-Lent Sunday, as it falls in-between Shrove Tuesday and Good Friday. In the year 2007, Mothering Sunday fell on the 18th of March, while the following year, it was celebrated on March 2008. The Sunday will fall on 22nd March in 2009, 14th March in 2010 and 3rd April in 2011.
History of Mothering Sunday
Mothering Sunday, or rather the modern Mother's Day, has been celebrated in Britain since centuries. It is believed that the early Christians, who were settled in England, started celebrating the fourth Sunday of Lent as Mother's Day, in honor of the Virgin Mary. According to another belief, somewhere around the 1600s, the people of England used to visit their nearest parish, known as the "Mother Church", on every Sunday. During that time, children above ten years of age used to leave their homes to find work as apprentices or domestic servants.
It was considered important to allow the working children, living away from their home, to visit their family as well as their church at least once a year. So, they were given a holiday by their masters, in the middle of Lent period, to visit their "Mother Church" or the church in their hometown. Slowly, this holiday became an occasion for family union and came to be extended to include all the mothers, along with the Mother Church. With time, the holiday came to be known as Mothering Sunday.
Other Names & Traditions For Mothering Sunday
he other names attributed to Mothering Sunday include Simnel Sunday, Refreshment Sunday and Rose Sunday. Simnel Sunday is named after the practice of baking Simnel cakes to celebrate the reuniting of families during the austerity of Lent. The term Refreshment Sunday was also used for Mothering Sunday, mainly because, on the particular Sunday, the fasting rules were relaxed for the people. Then, there is the term Rose Sunday, sometimes used as an alternative title for Mothering Sunday.
Rose Sunday refers to the English tradition of collecting and distributing posies of flowers at the service. It was originally meant for mothers only, but later came to include all women in the congregation. Mothering Sunday is also known as "the Sunday of the Five Loaves", because of the fact that the traditional is read on that day. There is one tradition associated with Mothering Sunday, called the practice of "clipping the church", whereby the congregation forms a ring around their church building and, holding hands, embraces it.