Mothering Sunday


Mothering Sunday, similar to Mother's Day, also called Mid-Lent Sunday, is observed on the fourth Sunday in Lent. The earliest predecessor to mothering Sunday can be traced back to Ancient Greece, when three days were set aside to honour the mother of all the gods and goddesses. Some say the ceremonies in honor of Cybele were adopted by the early church to venerate the Mother of Christ, Mary. Others believe the Mother Church was substituted for mother goddess and custom began to dictate that a person visit the church of his/her baptism on this day. People attended the mother church of their parish, laden with offerings. 

In England in the 1600's, young men and women who were apprentices or servants returned home on Mothering Sunday, would bring small gifts like trinkets or a "mothering cake" to their mothers. This helped to add a festive touch to the day. Sometimes frumenty was served, which is wheat grains boiled in sweet milk, sugared and spiced. In northern England and in Scotland, the preferred food was carlings - pancakes made of steeped Pease fried in butter, with pepper and salt. Another kind of mothering cake was the simnel cake, a very rich fruit cake. It is boiled in water, then baked, and often finished with a marzipan.  Simnel cake has now evolved to a lighter fruit cake, that has two layers of fruit cake separated by the marzipan or almond paste. The top of the cake has eleven marzipan balls, that are to represent the true disciples of Christ, Judas is emitted from this.

'I'll to thee a Simnell bring 'Gainst thou go'st a mothering, So that, when she blesseth thee, Half thou'lt give to me.' -Robert Herrick 1648. 

This Sunday is known by many names, ranging from Simnel Sunday, Rose Sunday, and Refreshment Sunday.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Discover tips on playing, event information, and great offers!