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Celebration of Mothers

In Ireland, Mother’s Day is celebrated on Laetare Sunday – the fourth Sunday in Lent.

Mothers Day. Photo copyright Jebulon CC3

Mother’s Day in America, and many other parts of the world, is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. It  has a different origin to Mothering Sunday in Ireland  and Britain. See below.

Poem. God made an Irish mother. Image copyright Ireland Calling

Mothering Sunday

Originally known as Mothering Sunday, it is thought to have developed from the Christian tradition of visiting the ‘mother church’ (a cathedral or large church where a person was baptised) on Laetare Sunday.

Children who had gone to other villages to work as apprentices or domestic servants were given time off to visit the church. Some employers gave the children ‘hand-me-down clothing’ for them to give to their mother as a gift.

Families were reunited. People were said to have gone ‘a-mothering’.

The children picked wild flowers which were displayed in the church. These flowers were given to mothers at the end of the service.

This grew into the tradition of honouring mothers and giving gifts.

Mothers Day poem. Image copyright Ireland Calling

Relaxing the Lent Fast

Simnel cakeLent lasts from Ash Wednesday until Good Friday. During Lent people traditionally fasted, and didn’t eat sweet, rich foods or meat (this is why pancakes are eaten on Shrove Tuesday – to eat up all the rich food in the house).

The Lent fast was relaxed on Mothering Sunday and a simnel cake was at treat for the family on this day. A simnel cake is a fruit cake with a layer of marzipan in the middle and on the top. It is decorated with 11 marzipan balls that represent the twelve disciples minus Judas. It is also a traditional Easter cake.

Mothering Sunday. Image copyright Ireland Calling

Mothering Sunday was also known as Sunday of the Five Loaves, and Simnel Sunday.

Religion does not play a large part of the celebration today, but the tradition of giving flowers and gifts to mothers remains.
God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers. Rudyard Kipling quote. Image copyright Ireland Calling

American Mother’s Day

Anna Jarvis. Photo copyright Olairian CC3Mother’s Day began in America in the early 20th century. Anna Jarvis’ mother had died on May 9 and she held a memorial for her.

She campaigned to make ‘Mother’s Day’ an accepted holiday in America to celebrate the love and work of mothers.

In 1914, President Woodrow made the second Sunday in May Mother’s Day. It now celebrated all over the world.

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A Mother’s Loves A Blessing, the Benn Sisters

All images copyright Ireland Calling


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