Mothering Sunday is a Christian holiday celebrated in some parts of Europe on the fourth Sunday of Lent.
Although it is often called Mother’s Day, it has no connection with the secular American festival of the same name.
It is not absolutely certain how the idea of Mothering Sunday began.
It is know, however, that on the fourth Sunday in Lent in the 16th Century, people visited the nearest big church (the Mother Church).
Inevitably the return to the ‘mother’ church became an occasion for family reunions.
Later it became a tradition for young maids and servants who have gone to work as domestic staff to be given this day off to visit their mother and family.
Mothering Sunday was also known as Mid-Lent Sunday or Refreshment Sunday.
It was often called Refreshment Sunday because the fasting rules for Lent were relaxed, in honour of the “Feeding of the Five thousand”.
The food item specially associated with Mothering Sunday is the Simnel Cake, a fruit cake with two layers of almond paste.
The cake is made with eleven balls of marzipan icing on top representing the eleven disciples (Judas not included).
By the 1920’s the custom of keeping Mothering Sunday had lapsed in some parts of Europe.
The revival of the Mother Sunday is attributed to Constance Smith (1878-1938), who was inspired in 1913 by reading a newspaper report of Anna Jarvis’s campaign for a Mother’s Day holiday in America.
Whatever you believe in ensure you tell you Mum you love her this Mothering Sunday.
All the best
Dedicate to Pauline Humphrey my amazing and loving Mum, we lives in Lincoln in England. Love you Mum xxx
If you fancy baking a Simnel cake see the recipe at the BBC: