Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Why do we celebrate Mothers Day?

I thought about this question for quite a while and decided to do some research.  I had it in my head that, like modern day 'Trick or Treat' Halloween celebrations that have made their way over to the UK from America, Mothers Day was probably a celebration designed by card manufacturers or sweet manufacturers in order to boost their sales, I was so wrong!!

Beautiful Portuguese Azelejo tile freeze of the Nativity

Mothers Day, or Mothering Sunday has been celebrated in the UK for over 400 years.  It is always held on the 4th Sunday of Lent (the 40 day period leading up to Easter) although other countries have different days.  Originally Mothering Sunday was in honor of The Virgin Mary, the mother of Christ but is now used as a day to celebrate all mothers.

The origins in the UK (it could have been a celebration of the Roman mother goddess Cybele) go back to the 1600's when children and servants were given leave by their employers to visit their "Mother Church" and attend a service in their own parish church.  These early worshipers would take gifts, flowers and special cakes for their mothers too.  So this special day, meant for the return to the Mother Church, was stretched to include all mothers and was named Mothering Sunday to reflect this.

Mother and daughter in church

 Another reason for celebrating this day would have been the relaxing of strict fasting rules for Lent.  It became known as Refreshment Sunday too - a very welcome respite for many.  This also co-ordinated with the Gospel reading from John 6:10-12, the story of how Jesus fed five thousand people with only five barley loaves and two fish.

Special food was prepared for Mothering Sunday and still is, the common dish of today is the Simnel Cake or sometimes Furmely (wheat grains boiled in milk, sugared and spiced).  However, and sadly for some, the Lenten fast dictated that the Simnel Cake must be kept until Easter.  Follow this link for a lovely, easy Simnel Cake recipe.

We have some beautiful soapcakes and soap cupcakes that make lovely gifts for Mothering Sunday although your mum might prefer one of our Puro Olive Oil soaps, ROSA, a highly moisturising bar soap made with Portuguese Olive Oil.

Let us know what you are planning for Mothering Sunday this year, we would love to hear your plans and stories.

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