Mothering Sunday

Mothering Sunday

Mothering Sunday is traditionally celebrated on the fourth Sunday during Lent, also known as Laetare Sunday. Lent marks the period of 40 days when Jesus went into the desert to fast. This period usually runs from mid-February to early April. When Lent ends, the Easter celebrations begin.

Mothers Day is celebrated in more than 50 countries across the world but not on same day. In United Kingdom the date changes every year and always falls at the end of March. In UK, Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man, Ireland and Nigeria Mothering Sunday is celebrated on 4th Sunday in Lent. In USA, Australia, Germany, China, India and Greece Mother’s Day is celebrated on second Sunday in May every year.

Why is Mother’s Day on a different date each year in UK?

Mother’s Day moves date every year due to the fact that Easter is also celebrated on changing dates each year. The day always falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent, which is three weeks before Easter Sunday. Because the dates of Lent and Easter change each year, based on the lunar calendar, the date of Mother’s Day changes too. Whilst the American Mother’s Day which occurs in May, Mothering Sunday usually takes place in March.

In 2024 Mothering Sunday will be celebrated on 10th March.


The origins of Mothering Sunday are centuries old. By most historical accounts, it was the Church of England that created Mothering Sunday to honor the mothers of England, and later to commemorate the “Mother Church” in all its spiritual nurturing glory. Hundreds of years ago, Christians were expected to make at least one return to their mother church each year. In other words, Mothering Sunday was the ultimate guilt trip to visit the woman or entity that gave them life. It was a concept of honoring both mothers and the mother church. In Britain, people have celebrated “Mother’s Day” as far back as the Ancient Greeks, who celebrated the Mother of the Gods!

During the early 17th century, Christian people in the U.K. returned to the main church or cathedral of the area (also known as the “mother church”) for a service to be held on Laetare Sunday (the fourth Sunday of Lent, usually falling between March 1st and April 4th). It was originally an opportunity to show thanks to the Virgin Mary in church and reunite family members who had been working away. Over the years the day has maintained that aspect of families reuniting and has in recent times seen mothers showered in love and appreciation.

Traditionally, Lent is the period from Ash Wednesday until Good Friday; people observed a fast during Lent. During the Lent fast, people would not eat from sweet, rich foods or meat. However, the fast Simnel cake was prepared to be eaten with their family on Mothering Sunday as the fast, later on, was slightly lifted on the same day.

How is the day celebrated

This is a day to celebrate all the people in our lives who have been like mothers to us. Mother’s Day is not a bank holiday in the United Kingdom. Therefore, public transport services run their usual Sunday routine. Cafes, restaurants, and hotels might be fully booked a long time ahead, as many people treat their mother to a special meal on Mother’s Day. Mothering Sunday was traditionally a day when children, mainly daughters, who had gone to work as domestic servants were given a day off to visit their mother and family.

In the UK, it was originally linked to religion but has since lost a lot of its connections to the church and is mainly a family day. Mother’s Day and Mothering Sunday became mixed up, and many people think that they are the same thing. On this day Mothers often receive flowers, presents or maybe you just want to spend time together. This may be birth mothers, adopted mothers, carers, mentors, other family members or even friends.

Mother’s day is a ‘refreshment day’ of sorts for the people of Britain. On this day, the entire family sits together and relishes yummy carlings-pancakes and other such treats. The delectable Simnel cake is almost always prepared on mother’s day in most English households.

Mothering Sunday

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Simmi Kamboj

Simmi Kamboj is the Founder and Administrator of Ritiriwaz, your one-stop guide to Indian Culture and Tradition. She had a passion for writing about India's lifestyle, culture, tradition, travel, and is trying to cover all Indian Cultural aspects of Daily Life.