Last week in Derbyshire Hospitals, the patients, staff and I talked about Mothering Sunday – how the tradition started because people went back to see their families and to visit the “mother” church of the parish on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Young people working away from home as servants would carry a simnel cake baked by the cook of the big house they worked in, and on their way home, they would pick a posy of spring flowers growing in the hedgerows. It was a chance for families to have the day off together and relax the strict rules of Lent by eating their delicious simnel cake (a fruit cake topped with marzipan balls, now more associated with Easter). In a simple way, these are still the ingredients of Mothering Sunday – love, food and flowers.
In 1908 in the USA, Anna Jarvis started a campaign to make Mothers’ Day an annual holiday – a day to honour mothers whose sons had died in war and all mothers. She conceived this as a simple family day, and her campaign bore fruit. Mothers’ Day became a national holiday in 1914, ironically at the start of World War Two, when many mothers were to lose their sons. The Americans always celebrate Mothers’ Day on the second Sunday in May. Anna Jarvis herself was dismayed by the commercialism of Mothers’ Day, which has spread to the UK too – I wonder how many millions we spend annually on flowers and cards – a far cry from those hand-picked posies of wild daffodils and primroses!
Here are some poems we’ve written about Mothering Sunday, giving a different perspective on what really matters on this special day.
Mothering Sunday Treats
Four generations enjoying a boat trip
Messing aroud on the canal in springtime
Mothering Sunday – a chance for families to get together.
Chop some sticks and do some chores
Flowers and chocolates – a card
Made in school and kept secret
A day off from cooking – a Sunday roast
Afternoon tea at the Cavendish
– Avoid the busy Sunday like the plague!
Too many people, too expensive.
Breakfast in bed, and a walk in the fresh air
Get rid of the kids and a nice lunch.
What about a spa day? Relaxing
In a heated outdoor swimming pool and hot tubs
at Eden Hall – a proper day off!
Or you could pamper the dog instead
At the garden centre, or buy a love-heart
On a Pandora charm bracelet.
There are many ways to celebrate and spoil your mother!
A Mother’s Day Bouquet
Daffodils so yellow and bright
Tulips are a vibrant sight
Carnations – a sweet smell from the past
Whose beauty, in the vase, will last.
Blue hyacinths that smell so sweet
On the windowsill, look a treat
Roses to show real true love
Primulas shine like the sun from above
Fucsia purple, fragrant dwelling
Flowers that everyone loves smelling
Make a posy, to give to our mum
To cheer her up when she feels glum.
These flowers we give – we want to say
How much we love you every day.
– Not just for Mothering Sunday!
A Yellow Shine Up on Your Face
A yellow shine up on your face
We’d shine a buttercup on your chin
Do you like bread? Do you like butter?
The flower would tell us.
We made flowers for Mothering Sunday
Selected buttons from a button box
Containing a lifetime of memories
From an engineer’s smock, coats and dresses
In an old biscuit tin.
Bun cases for petals
And golden paper to make
A Daffodils trumpet.
Mothering Sunday is coming this week.
The little children make posies
Of violets, nodding daffodils, even bluebells.
There could be snow, there could be sunshine.
But springtime is here,
Whatever it brings.
Sunshine is almost upon us…