Mothering Sunday falls on 15 March this year and is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of each Lent.
While it is traditionally a celebration of mothers, it is a separate occasion to the American holiday of Mother’s Day – although the origins of both are surprisingly intertwined.
Now Google have marked the occasion with an animated Doodle on its homepage showing mother's - both human and animal - caring for their offspring. A message reads: Happy Mother's Day from every cub, chick, pup, joey and child.
The origins of Mothering Sunday stretch back to the 16th century when people would return to their ‘mother church’ for a service held on Laetare Sunday, drawn from the Latin ‘laetari’ meaning ‘to rejoice’. On the way it is thought that families and children would collect roadside flowers to place in church.
The pre-Reformation celebrants were commonly referred to have gone ‘a-mothering,’ and various customs – such as Simnell cakes – survived the reformation.
In later years, the fourth Sunday of Lent evolved as a day off for servants or those ‘in service’ to travel home and see their families.
Despite this, the traditional gradually waned across Ireland and Europe until the early 20 century and the arrival of Constance Smith, commonly acknowledged as the founder of the modern tradition of Mothering Sunday.
Inspired by the efforts of US campaigner Anna Jarvis, who introduced Mother’s Day to her country on the second Sunday of May in memory of her own mother’s death on 9 May, Smith combined popular elements from past traditions – such as the proliferation of Simnell cakes – and surviving local traditions to re-invigorated the occasion.
10 best last-minute Mother's Day gifts
10 best last-minute Mother's Day gifts
1/10 Airkix indoor skydiving
An Airkix skydive gives adrenaline junkies the opportunity to enjoy a freefall experience without the part where you throw yourself out of a plane. In a specially designed air tunnel, you’ll be able to try tricks and turns as if in the great outdoors, with each flight lasting the same time as a 12,000ft skydive. Although an unorthodox choice for Mother’s Day, this is bound to put a smile on Mum’s face and make for a fun day out. Vouchers can be bought online and emailed, and are redeemable at Airkix centres in Basingstoke, Manchester and Milton Keynes. Family flight vouchers are also available if Dad wants to get in on the action too. From £39.99, airkix.com
2/10 Moonpig potted pink azalea
Moonpig has become synonymous with personalised greetings cards, but the retailer also has an impressive selection of Mother’s Day bouquets, plants and gift packages including this pretty pink azalea which comes in a distressed ceramic planter. Although only small, it’ll thrive with a bit of TLC. There’s free next day delivery up until 2pm on Friday, and for real last-minute buys it’s £6.50 for Sunday delivery – either to yourself or the recipient – which includes a personalised card. £30, moonpig.com
3/10 Fudgey Fridays Tasting Club
A sweet treat is a guaranteed hit with most mums, but we think chocolate is a bit old hat. The award-winning Buttermilk Confectionary Company, based in Cornwall, offers a nifty subscription service, meaning hand-made fudge will be delivered to the recipient’s door on the last Thursday of the month. With gift subscriptions available from three months to a year, this is the gift that keeps on giving. Although you won’t have anything to give on Mother’s Day itself, we’re sure you’ll be forgiven when the first box of fudge arrives. £11.99 per month for a three month gift subscription, buttermilkconfections.co.uk
With thousands of music, art, comedy and sport events to choose from, Ticketmaster isn’t a bad shout if you’re really struggling for time and inspiration. Upcoming performances include Gary Barlow, Swan Lake, Miranda Hart and countless other mum favourites, so you can surprise her with tickets to something she’ll love. Alternatively, if you’re not too sure whether she’s more Tom Odell than Tom Jones you can buy instant gift cards starting from £10. Gift cards from £10, ticketmaster.co.uk
5/10 UNICEF Mother's Day Basket
Some mums seem to have it all, which doesn’t help when it comes to buying presents. Kill two birds with one stone with UNICEF’s Mother’s Day basket, which includes essential life-saving vaccines, water purification tablets, oral rehydration salts and school things. You’ll be able to create a personalised e-card to send directly via email, and can rest easy knowing that you’re helping others less fortunate. £22, unicef.org.uk
6/10 Upper Street
Go all out this Mother’s Day with an e-voucher for a pair of designer heels at shoe boutique Upper Street. Vouchers can be redeemed in their North London Showroom or online, and Upper Street allows customers to design their own shoes from scratch before having them custom made and delivered. Choose from a variety of styles, from sandals to stilettos, and personalise colours and embellishments. Individual pairs start at £195 so you’ll have to be prepared to splash the cash on a gift card otherwise Mum’ll be picking up the bill. Shoes from £195, upperstreet.com
One for traditionalists: give the gift of pampering this Mother’s Day with a Wahanda gift voucher, accepted at over 2,000 venues offering all sorts of beauty treatments and spa breaks. Although there’s no e-voucher option, Wahanda will send your voucher in a ribbon-adorned box via 1st Class Royal Mail delivery so it should still arrive in time if you order quickly. Gift vouchers from £25, wahanda.com
Another one for foodies, Yumbles is like the food equivalent of Etsy or Not On The High Street, providing a marketplace for independent producers to sell their goods. E-vouchers (starting at £5) can be sent direct to Mum’s email address, and can then be redeemed on all sorts of delicious sweet and savoury treats. Our favourites are the artisan kitchen hamper, containing a range of jams and conserves, and there some seriously mouth-watering salted caramel marshmallows. Yum! Gift vouchers from £5, yumbles.com
9/10 Treatme helicopter flight for 2
Treatme is a leading experience day company, and is running a 15% off code right up until Mother’s Day. This 6 mile helicopter flight can be booked from just under 20 locations around England and Wales and promises spectacular birds-eye views over the surrounding landscapes. A voucher for the experience will be sent to your email address, along with the order confirmation, and you can then forward it on or print it out. £80.75 with discount code 'TREATMUM', treatme.co.uk
10/10 Superbreak 3 night P&O minicruise to Amsterdam
Superbreak covers all sorts of travel experiences, from Disneyland adventures to Eurostar trips. This three night beak to Amsterdam is perfect for mums keen to travel and take in a bit of culture, and doesn’t cost the earth. Departing from Hull on 4 May, it also includes a night’s stay in a 4* hotel in the famous Dutch capital allowing time to explore the city’s canals and cobbled streets. Combine it with an early Father’s Day present and send them both off for a well-deserved trip. Superbreak also offers gift vouchers from £5, sent by Royal Mail 1st Class post. From £134 per person, superbreak.com
Writing under the pen-name C. Penswick Smith, she published the booklet The Revival of Mothering Sunday in 1920.
Fuelled by collective mourning following the loss of young sons in the First World War, and manufacturers’ swift assessment of its lucrative possibilities, Mothering Sunday – and Mother’s Day rapidly gained popularity.
In a sad twist of fate, neither of the two founders the modern tradition became mothers themselves.
Jarvis, who died in 1948, even grew to resent the growing commercialisation of the day.
“A printed card means nothing,” she said, “except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world.”Reuse content