Mother’s Day 2020

Like many traditions and festivities, Mothering Sunday began with a religious purpose. Held on the fourth Sunday in Lent, exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday, it was a originally a day to honour and give thanks to the Virgin Mary, also known as Mother Mary. Such celebrations required people to visit their ‘mother’ church – the main church or cathedral in a family’s area. The spread of Christianity throughout Europe in the 16th century increased the celebrations and firmly put Mothering Sunday on the calendar. It was believed to be essential for people to return to their home ‘mother’ church to make it a true family honoured occasion. The gatherings reunited families and gave children who worked as domestic servants, or as apprentices away from home (from as early as ten years old), the opportunity to have the day off to join their family and see their mother.

As with any national holiday, food always seems to take centre stage; Christmas dinner, Easter eggs, Valentine’s feast and Mother’s Day Sunday roast dinner. We love our food and the tradition it brings!

Mothering Sunday was once also known as ‘Refreshment Sunday’ it was the mid-lent Sunday where fasting could be ‘eased’ for the day and people could enjoy a delicious meal together as a family. It was an opportunity to temporarily indulge in some special rich food for the day breaking up the hard slog of lent. Traditionally, after church, families would tuck into a Sunday dinner of either roast lamb or veal and mother would be made Queen of the feast. Similar to today, Mothering Sunday was all about spoiling mum and making her feel happy and appreciated.

Also once known as ‘Simnel Sunday’, families would gather with freshly baked delicious Simnel cakes. Simnel cakes are made of two rich fruity layers that are boiled in water and then baked, before having almond paste spread on top and in the middle of the layers. Traditionally the cake would have been decorated with 11 balls of marzipan to represent the 11 disciples (not including Judas), whilst sugar violets were also a popular decoration for the cake. Such a treat midway through lent was greatly looked forward to.

Traditionally, it’s believed that bread was also freshly baked for mothers on Mothering Sunday. Children would awake early and get the bread in the oven so mums would wake to the beautiful aroma of fresh bread. Nowadays mum’s are either taken out for a special dinner or a home cooked Sunday roast dinner is enjoyed by the whole family – mums might even be cooking it themselves!