This coming Sunday is Mother’s Day in the UK, a day to celebrate our mothers. Keep reading to learn some fun facts about Mother’s Day!
In the UK, the date of Mother’s Day changes every year. It’s three weeks before Easter and the date of Easter depends on the moon. Easter Sunday is the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after 21st March, the spring equinox.
In Britain, Mother’s Day is also called Mothering Sunday and some people, like my mother, consider this name to be more correct! Nowadays, it’s quite difficult to find a card in the shops which says “Mothering Sunday” though. Most of them say “Mother’s Day”.
Hundreds of years ago, Mothering Sunday in the UK was not about celebrating our mothers at all but it was a day for people to visit their mother church, the main church in the area or the church where they were baptised. Servants were given a day off to visit their mother church and their families.
During the American Civil War, a woman called Ann Jarvis looked after injured people on both armies. She also tried to encourage peace between families on both sides by forming a Mothers Friendship Day.
After Ann Jarvis died, her daughter, Anna Jarvis, had a memorial service in church to honour her mother and all mothers on 10th May, 1908. This was the first Mother’s Day in the USA. The day became recognised nationally as an annual celebration in 2014.
In the 1920s, Anna Jarvis was unhappy with how commercialised Mother’s Day was becoming and she said this: “A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.”
In England, Constance Adelaide Smith was inspired by a newspaper article about Anna Jarvis and America’s Mother’s Day and she decided to try to revive Mothering Sunday in the UK as a day to celebrate mothers as well as the mother church, Mother Earth and Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Traditionally, children give their mother violets on Mothering Sunday and people eat simnel cake. This is a fruit cake with a layer of marzipan (almond paste) in the middle and another on the top. It’s decorated with eleven balls of marzipan on top, representing the twelve disciples of Jesus minus Judas.
Nowadays people often buy flowers or chocolates for their mother as well as a card. In Britain, more flowers are bought for Mother’s Day than for any other day in the year. People often buy cards and gifts for grandmothers as well. Children are encouraged to look after their mum and take her breakfast in bed.
Mother’s Day is celebrated all over the world, although not on the same day in each country. In America and many other countries, it’s the second Sunday in May. In some countries, it’s celebrated on 8th March, International Women’s Day.
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