Last week, we talked about the history of Mother’s Day, or in the UK, Mothering Sunday, which is today, the 15th March. Mothering Sunday always falls on the 4th Sunday in Lent, and it used to be when parishioners would travel to their “mother” church or cathedral, so the name Mothering Sunday actually has nothing to do with celebrating motherhood.
However, the day was often the only chance that young people working as servants or agricultural labourers would have to spend with their families. On their walk home, they would pick posies of wild flowers from the hedgerows to give to their mothers – and this is partly where the tradition of giving flowers or plants on Mothering Sunday started. In early twentieth century America, Anna Jarvis campaigned for the US government to create a National Holiday, which finally happened in 1914, and is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. Afterwards, Anna Jarvis was appalled by the commercialisation of Mother’s Day, which she had intended to be a quiet affair, celebrated by families in private.
I’ve just celebrated a quiet Mothering Sunday with my own family – but I had to endure a lot of commercialisation on Saturday in a local supermarket, scrambling to buy a potted plant, present and ingredients for a special meal. I can particularly recommend the cake I made – I found the recipe on the internet! Streusel plum cake.
We also made paper flowers and vases to cheer up the gloom of early spring days, and talked about the things that mums like to be treated to on Mother’s Day. I’ve turned these into a poem.
Flowers for Mother’s Day
Daffodils, snowdrops, primroses in bloom,
Purple the crocuses shine through the gloom.
Catkins and tulips and carnations white:
Brave flowers of March bring joy and delight.
Mothers love flowers and plants in a pot
Chocolates – a treat, though we daren’t eat a lot!
Treated to lunch that we don’t have to cook
The peace and quiet of reading a good book.
Still cold outside, but the flowers you bring
Remind me of love, and start off the spring.