About Mothering Sunday
When is Mothering Sunday in the UK and Ireland?
Mothering Sunday (also known as 'Mother's Day') is celebrated in the United Kingdom and Ireland on the fourth Sunday in Lent. It is not a public holiday.
Most people today equate Mothering Sunday with the traditions of the American Mother's Day and although the modern celebration of this holiday in the UK and Ireland is the same as the international version, the origin of Mother's Day in the British Isles has nothing to do with anything maternal.
History of Mothering Sunday in the UK and Ireland
On the fourth Sunday in Lent, from about the sixteenth century, it had been a tradition for families to attend a church service in the nearest important church or cathedral - their 'Mother' church.
Attending the church service together was a rare occasion for families to gather as one, and members of the family who worked on that day were often given the day off, so they could also attend the service.
As time went by, servants and apprentices were still given the day off, but instead of going to the 'mother' church, they would have used the day off to spend time with their families and indeed their mothers.
So, if you have forgotten to get your mother a gift this Mother's Day, don't worry - just tell her the true non-mother related origin of the day - I'm sure she will understand...
Nowadays, Mother's Day is a celebration of the role of the mother, similar to the American tradition, and children will give their Mother's a card and gift; younger children making their mother breakfast is a common activity. Mother's Day is the third most popular holiday to buy greeting cards for, behind Christmas and St. Valentine's Day.
The fourth Sunday in some Christian traditions was known as 'Refreshment Sunday' or the 'Sunday of the five loaves', as it was supposedly the day on which the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand took place when Jesus fed five thousand people despite only having five loaves of bread and two fishes.