Did you know that Mother’s Day and Mothering Sunday began life as two very different celebrations? Mothering Sunday had nothing to do with mothers.
During the 16th century, people in the UK would return to their ‘mother church’ for a service on the 4th Sunday of Lent, anyone who did this was commonly said to have gone "a-mothering", Employers would grant leave to employees and servants to enable them to attend this service and it was often the only occasion that whole families would get together. Children who had been given time off would gather wildflowers on their way, to place in the church or to give to their mothers. In time mothering, became less about religion and more about acknowledging mothers, however by the 1920s this tradition had begun to wane.
In May 1908, in the USA the first official Mother’s Day was observed in the form of a memorial held at a church in West Virginia, it was organised by a lady named Anna Jarvis to honour her own mother who had passed away in 1905. Anna campaigned to have a Mother’s Day observed annually, and in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation establishing the second Sunday in May at the official Mother’s Day.
Inspired by Anna Jarvis’s efforts, a lady named Constance Penswick-Smith in the UK created the Mothering Sunday Movement, in a quest to revive the festival here in the UK. The influence of this movement along with new traditions that were introduced to the UK by American soldiers serving here during World War II became the basis of Mother’s Day as we now know it. Unlike the USA we celebrate Mother’s Day in March, on the 4th Sunday of Lent, the original Mothering Sunday, merging the two traditions.
Mother’s Day really took off in the 1950s, driven by retailers who had realised the commercial potential of Mother’s Day and had begun to promote it relentlessly.
Mother’s Day here at Canterbury House is a very special occasion, it was lovely to see our children and to take a moment to reflect fondly on the memories we have of our own mothers. We were treated to a wonderful afternoon tea of sandwiches and cake, all washed down with a little sherry or two. We received bouquets of daffodils and chocolates, there were decorations and balloons, it was a wonderful celebration, we were thoroughly spoiled.