Mothering Sunday in the UK is the fourth Sunday of Lent, so the date changes from year to year as it follows the Church calendar. In 2014, Mothering Sunday (now better known as Mother’s Day, in line with the US festival) falls on the 30th March.
Traditionally, it’s a time for children to honour and celebrate their mothers, usually with a gift, card or treat of some kind, to thank them for their care throughout the year. The history of the festival is unclear, but it could have been an adoption of a Roman Spring festival celebrating the Mother Goddess. There are records dating back 400 years of people making a special effort on this date to visit the church where they’d been baptised, their ‘Mother Church’, a custom which was known as ‘going a mothering’.
Later, it became the tradition for boys and girls in service around the country to have Mothering Sunday off as a day to visit their families, and were often allowed to take gifts of flowers or home baking. As servants boarded free of charge, they were paid only a small salary and often couldn’t afford to visit their families without a helping hand from their employers.
Mothering Sunday has also been known as ‘Simnel Sunday’, as the Simnel cake was made on that day and stored, ready for Easter and the end of the Lent fast. Simnel cakes are still popular today, and consist of fruit cake covered with marzipan with an iced middle. Eleven marzipan balls are arranged round the edge of the cake, to represent the twelve apostles with the exception of Judas Iscariot, Jesus’s betrayer.
The traditional flowers of Mothering Sunday are daffodils, as they’re normally coming into bloom at the right time of year. Here’s our pick of this year’s best Mother’s Day gifts:
1. Wooden planter crate, Plantabox
This cute little wooden crate can be personalised with a name and message of up to 18 characters per line, then planted with Spring bulbs for a show of bright colour. Priced at £22.95, it’s available in a range of colours and comes complete with a planter liner. Available from Plantabox.
2. Daffodil Mother’s Day card, Honey Tree Bespoke
These pretty cards from unique stationery company Honey Tree Bespoke come in a wide range of designs, including geranium, hyacinth, delphiniums and fuchsia plus non-floral options. Cards can also be personalised with your choice of message, and cost £3.90 each. For more information, visit Honey Tree Bespoke.
3. Embroidered notebooks, Karenza and Co
These beautiful notebooks from Karenza and Co feature embroidered flowers on a toning fabric background, contain plain pages, and fasten with a ribbon tie. They’re available in a choice of designs, including hydrangea, pansy and magnolia, and cost £9.50 each.
4. Enamel heart, Delightful Living
For an unusual twist on the traditional card, what about this enamel heart? It comes in two different designs and eleven colours, and can be printed with your own choice of message. Great to hang from a drawer handle or cupboard door, it’ll give pleasure for years and years, unlike a paper card. Priced at £15 from Delightful Living.
5. Family cushion, Zoe Corney
This wonderful cushion is handmade by designer Zoe Corney, and features your own family immortalised in felt! Working from a brief description, Zoe appliques the characters, including any family pets, to the cushion fabric before adding embroidered names. Priced at £45, this is a quirky, unique gift your mum won’t forget. For more information, visit the Swanky Maison website.