Mother’s Day 2016 In The UK And Ireland: Traditions And Customs And What You Need To Know

Although Mother’s Day in the United States doesn’t take place until May 8, Mother’s Day, or Mothering Day as it is affectionately known as by both the British and Irish, occurs on the fourth Sunday of Lent. It is also exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday, which occurs during the second half of March or early April. Easter 2016 takes place on March 27 this year.

The Telegraph UK reported that Mothering Day, as it is called in the United Kingdom, is a day set aside to celebrate both mothers and the maternal bond. It is a day where children give flowers, cards, and presents to their mothers. They also give them to other maternal figures like grandmothers, step mothers, and mothers-in-law.

It is a centuries old tradition that originally began with parishioners returning home to their mother church on Laetare Sunday, which occurs in the middle of Lent. It later became a day for servants to return home to see their mothers and spend time with them, a chance for a family reunion, but that wasn’t how the official Mother’s Day began.

Although many would pick flowers along the way to give to their mothers or to the church, it wasn’t until American social activist Anna Jarvis, born in 1864, decided that there needed to be an official Mother’s Day to honor mothers. Jarvis lobbied to create the day after her mother died. She said that she was concerned about the commercialism of the day.

“I wanted it to be a day of sentiment, not profit.”

She also didn’t like the selling of flowers and the use of greetings cards, which she described as “a poor excuse for the letter you are too lazy to write.”

Mother’s Day became official in 1914 when Christians began to celebrate it, and in 1932, it became a holiday in Japan. Jarvis dedicated her life to making Mother’s Day a holiday because of her relationship with her mother.

The Scarborough News reported that there were many traditions associated with Mother’s Day, beginning with the fact that it is celebrated at the same time that winter is ending, and the peak growing months in the United Kingdom occur in the spring. Great Britain began its Mother’s Day celebrations two years after the Americans. Because of World War I, there was a strong sentiment pushing for Mothers Day in the United Kingdom, and a day in August was chosen. By the 1920s, the celebration had faded away. It died out in the 1930s and didn’t make a resurgence until after the end of World War II.

Meals have commonly been associated with Mothers Day, and for the British, it meant a meal with the family. Each region has it specialties when it comes to making the meal. For those who live in the Northern region, it was common to have a fig pie made with currants, syrup, and spices, washed down with spiced ale. Other treats included egg custard and white sugar candies flavored with caraway. Since Mothering Day is now related to the Easter Holiday season, simnel cake is often served.

The Mother’s Day celebration never caught on in the northeast or Yorkshire. Instead, they prefer to celebrate Carling Sunday, also called Passion Sunday, and it’s related to an earlier form of the Roman Rite or liturgies. They eat carlin peas on this day.

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