The other Linda (reapermum) wrote in mfu_canteen,
The other Linda

Mothering Sunday is not the same as Mother's Day.

I posted this in my journal in 2011, but I think it might bear repetition.

Many people,I find, had always assumed Mothering Sunday and Mother's Day were the same thing. So I thought I'd summarise what I'd found out from reading in the Times archive.

Mothering Sunday is the 4th Sunday of Lent, named from the epistle reading of the day which says "Jerusalem above, which is mother of us all" It has been celebrated for over 300 years by people attending their mother church, that is where they were baptised and making donations for its upkeep. Naturally you'd get to see your family at the same time. It was traditional to wear violets and eat frumenty (a sort of rich porridge containing dried fruits)

As a rural celebration it died out in places because of the industrial revolution. Then in the early 20thC there was an attempt to introduce the American Mother's Day in May. This caused a flurry of letters to the Times objecting to the introduction of a foreign substitute for our own celebration. There followed a push to revive the old Mothering Sunday traditions by the Mothering Sunday Movement, who would send a leaflet explaining the tradition for 1/2d.

Selfridge's started selling Simnel cakes in the 20s, which had been local to Lancashire. Mothers themselves started getting a mention in the 20s but there's no suggestion yet of presents. Though collecting for the provision of maternity homes was suggested. By the 30s the Mothering Sunday Movement has gone into selling cards scented with violets and bookmarks.

By the 40s the GIs were getting the blame for the church getting sidelined and in 1951 the shops were putting the price of flowers up for Mothering Sunday. The church was fighting a losing battle.

The annual sermons from our parish priest combined with the death of my mother while I was a student has left me totally disconnected from the idea of getting presents.

(But I still want my Easter egg.)

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