Five Mother's Day traditions and facts

Mother’s Day is coming up on Sunday, March 15, so it’s time you started thinking of all the special ways you can treat your mum (not that you shouldn’t treat her on every other day of the year too!).

But do you know why we celebrate this day and where it came from? Well, we at The Personalised Gift Shop have done some research into Mother’s Day to bring you the facts you didn’t know!

Americans have a different Mother’s Day to us

In the United States, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May, and bears no relation to religion or the UK celebration (other than the fact we are both honouring all mothers on these days).

The Mother’s Day Americans celebrate comes from the early 20th century, thanks to the work of a daughter who wanted her late mother – and all mothers – to be celebrated.

Anna Jarvis held a ceremony to remember her mother and campaigned to make ‘Mother’s Day’ a recognised holiday throughout the country.

Her work paid off when, in 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation to make Mother’s Day a national holiday in the US.

The British celebration of Mother’s Day has roots in religion

Mother’s Day is always held on the fourth Sunday in Lent. It is believed that the British Mother’s Day has evolved from the 16th century and the tradition of visiting your mother church on Laetare Sunday, once a year. This meant that mothers would be reunited with their children who were working away or in service.

But the introduction of the American celebration of Mother’s Day transformed the day in the UK to a celebration of mothers.

The earliest celebration of mothers was by the Greeks

There are not many things the Greeks didn’t do first, and according to the history books, they got in on celebrating mothers before anyone else too.

Greeks held an annual spring festival dedicated to the mothers of gods and goddesses that feature in Greek mythology and Rhea, wife of Cronus.

The Romans weren’t far behind, celebrating their mother goddess Cybele in a festival called Hilaria.

Of course, these celebrations bear no relation to the Mother’s Day we know and celebrate today – Hilaria took place around 250 years before the birth of Christ.

Technically – you can have whatever you gave up for Lent on Mother’s Day

Traditionally the fasting rules for Lent were relaxed on Mother’s Day, which led to it also being known as Refreshment Sunday in Christianity.

But before you prepare to have a mid-Lent treat (especially if you’ve been doing so well giving up something), remember that this was based around the religious rules of Lent which was much stricter than giving up chocolate or walking to the shops instead of taking the car!

Originally all animal products were forbidden in most religious groups and Latin Catholics in the 20th century could only have one full meal a day.

They were probably much more in need of a Refreshment Sunday than we are – so don’t take this fact as an excuse to have a Mother’s Day binge!

But… you can have cake (or at least your mum can)

Tradition says that on Refreshment Sunday (which of course is also Mothering Sunday) daughters in service would bring a Simnel cake home with them for their mothers on Laetare Sunday.

This cake has been known of since medieval times and different towns came up with their own recipes. However it was the recipe from Shrewsbury that became the most popular and nowadays most Simnel cakes include spices, dried fruits, zest and peel.

Do you know of any facts about Mother’s Day that we’ve missed out? Let us know!

And if you have been inspired to treat your mum, take a look at our range of Personalised Mother's Day Gifts.