Mothers Day - Facts and history

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Mothers Day Facts

A list of interesting Mothers day facts and traditions

  • Mothers day in the UK is held on the 4th Sunday (which is the middle Sunday) of Lent. (The period of fasting before Easter)
  • Mothers day is also known as Mothering Sunday, or Refreshment Sunday or Mid-Lent Sunday, or Laetare Sunday
  • This year (2006) Mothering Sunday will be held on the 26th March in the UK.
  • In the US, parts of Europe, Asia, and Australia mothers day is celebrated on the 2nd Sunday of May which this year will be 8th of May 2005
  • The origin of mothers day is not exactly clear, in terms of its current meaning, which is a day to honour ones mother, mothering Sunday probably dates from the 17th century in the UK
  • Members of the working classes were often given the weekend off in the middle part of lent to visit their families, which eventually became associated with the bringing of gifts home to their mothers, especially flowers or a fruitcake called a Simnel cake.
  • The name given to this day may also come from the old tradition of attending the church in which you were christened (your mother church) at least once a year. This may in fact have lead to the tradition of the working classes being given the day off so they could attend the church of their christening.
  • In America the origins of mother's day is a little clearer. It was first celebrated on a local scale in Boston in 1870 as a day commemorating peace after a suggestion by Julia Ward Howe. It was relatively small scale until 1907 when Anna Jarvis started to campaign for a wider celebration of mothers day.
  • As the tradition of celebrating mothers day on the 2nd Sunday in may grew, the emphasis shifted from the original peace associations to the honouring of ones mother, much like mothering Sunday in the UK.
  • In 1914 Mothers day was officially recognised by the US government as a national holiday.
  • Whilst mother's day is celebrated on different days and for different reasons in many countries around the world the central tenet of honouring your mother is universal. The day is closely associated with the giving of mothers day gifts such as flowers, chocolates or general pampering type gifts. And also the sending of cards, which the greeting card industry has exploited to the full!
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