The story behind Mothering Sunday
In the UK, Mothering Sunday is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent in the Christian calendar. It comes as no surprise then, to learn that the origins of Mothering Sunday had more to do with the church than it did with mothers.
Hundreds of years ago, churchgoers would, on one Sunday each year, attend service at their ‘mother church’ – defined as the church in the parish where they were born. The fourth Sunday of Lent was the chosen day.
Over time, Mothering Sunday evolved and gradually became a day for sons and daughters to say ‘thank you’ to their mums. This might well have been because Mothering Sunday had become an annual family get-together.
Historians believe that many boys and girls – working in other parts of the locality as domestic staff or apprentices from an early age – would pick springtime wild flowers on the way to church on Mothering Sunday and present them as gifts to their mothers. And so Mother’s Day as we know it today, was born.
In those early days, the flowers were often sweet violets because these would have been widely available to pick along the lanes at this time of year. Later, carnations became the most popular flower to give on Mothering Sunday, because it was seen as a symbol of mother love.
Today, mixed bouquets are the order of the day, bought from the local florists or store. But it’s still possible to retain the spirit of those days when people would hand-pick spring flowers.
Ask your florist to create a seasonal bouquet with flowers such as Lily of the Valley, Magnolia, Forsythia and Hellebores. Other colourful flowers to add to the mix are bright yellow Narcissus and vibrant tulips.
For a beautiful scent, include roses in the bouquet, too. And by adding some seasonal foliage – from your own garden if possible – you’ll be able to create that natural, ‘just picked’ look.
If your mum is a keen gardener, why not buy her bulb flowers that are still growing? They’ll look lovely indoors in a pretty pot, and the bulbs can then be planted in the garden. Again, choose local flowers that are in season.
Using seasonal, British flowers is much better than buying flowers with a big carbon footprint – and it’s thoughtful to make that extra bit of effort.