Mother's Day Gift Ideas - Sunday March 27th 2022
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What is Mother’s Day?
Mother’s Day and Mothering Sunday is the annual tradition to express the love and gratitude to our mothers and mother figures. It is both a secular and religious celebration, but their histories are different. Mother’s Day as we know it today originated in America and was created at the beginning of the 20th Century. Mothering Sunday is British, that has its beginnings far further back. There have been celebrations for mothers and motherhood for thousands of years. Every spring the Greeks celebrated the Goddess Rhea, the mother of Gods and Goddesses and The Romans celebrated every March, a mother Goddess Cybele.
Today, Mother’s Day is celebrated around the world on different dates, with different religious and secular origins and traditions.
When was Mother’s Day invented?
The religious origins of Mothering Sunday go back to a purely religious celebration in the 16th century. The original use of the word of ‘mothering’ refers to the ‘mother church’ the main church or cathedral in the place where people grew up and the centre for gatherings of annual festivals.
Traditionally, Christians have visited their ‘Mother Church’ on the fourth Sunday in Lent to celebrate the Virgin Mary or Mother Mary. Families would return to their 'home' church for a special service. This pilgrimage was also known as ‘going-a-mothering’ and became a precious time to have a small break in their Lent fast and spend time with their families. Domestic servants were given this Sunday off to visit their own families, some of whom had left to go into service from a very early age, so this festival brought people together on this date.
Lent runs for 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Good Friday.
Observing Lent excluded the eating of sweet or indulgent or rich foods. Mid-Lent Sunday, Laetare Sunday or ‘refreshment Sunday’ would be a day that would be enjoyed after the church service with a brief respite from fasting.
As part of the religious tradition, people would bake a Simnel Cake to take to give and eat with their family. The Simnel cake is a light fruit cake decorated with 11 marzipan balls that top the cake, signifying the twelve Apostles, less Judas.
Mothering Sunday was strictly observed for centuries, but over hundreds of years the tradition slowly faded from public observance. In 1913 however, an Englishwoman named Constance Penwick-Smith read an article by Anna Jarvis in Philadelphia, USA proposing the introduction of a day to celebrate American mothers in the USA and so Constance was inspired to revive Mothering Sunday in the UK.
The daughter of a vicar, Constance wrote a book called ‘Revival of Mothering Sunday’ and founded the Society for the Observance of Mothering Sunday. She leaned more towards the American influence, creating a day that was more of a celebration and honouring of mothers than strictly of religious observance. Her hard work and dogged determination paid off and the British public embraced the idea, which is now an established part of our culture.
Meanwhile over in the USA, Anna Jarvis was having similar success. Anna was much inspired by her own mother who was a social activist and the founder of Mother’s Day Work Clubs. A deeply religious woman, she was deeply involved with her local church and community. It was at one of Anna’s Sunday school lessons at the wise young age of 12, in 1876, that she became inspired to begin a movement for a celebration of all mothers, with a closing prayer:
“I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mother’s day commemorating her for her matchless service she renders to humanity in every field of life. She is entitled to it.”
Unusually for the time, Anna was encouraged by her mother to attended college and she went on to have a professional career.
Three years after her mother died, Anna held a memorial service to celebrate her life and the lives of all mothers. Anna chose a simple white carnation as the flower to symbolise the day, buying 500 of them to give to all who attended at the service. She touchingly described why she had chosen this flower:
“Its whiteness is to symbolize the truth, purity and broad-charity of mother love; its fragrance, her memory, and her prayers. The carnation does not drop its petals, but hugs them to its heart as it dies, and so, too, mothers hug their children to their hearts, their mother love never dying. When I selected this flower, I was remembering my mother’s bed of white pinks”.
Anna’s movement was a huge success and in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson established the second Sunday in May as the official date for a national day to celebrate mothers.
Swiftly following this success came the commercialisation of the day. Florists raised the price of white carnations, expanding into red carnations and the arrival of greeting cards followed. Anna didn’t hold back on what she thought of this:
“A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother - and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.”
Despite Anna's efforts to regain the true meaning of the day, the genie was firmly out of the bottle and the day is now the most commercially successful in America.
Mother’s Day and Mothering Sunday are now celebrated worldwide. For some countries, the day was contrived by florists, who wanted to emulate the success in the United States. This was particularly well organised in the Netherlands.
When is Mother’s Day?
Mothering Sunday in the UK is always on the fourth Sunday in Lent. So this year it is 27th March 2022.
Mother's Day in the United States is celebrated on the second Sunday of May each year.
Why does Mother’s Day date change every year?
Mothering Sunday is linked to Easter Day, always 3 weeks before Easter Day, which is always the Sunday following the full moon that occurs on the first day of Spring linked to the Lunar calendar. The lunar calendar does not follow dates of the month and can be anywhere between 22nd March and the 25th April.
What to get for Mother’s Day?
Well, as a mother myself, what makes me happiest on Mother’s Day?... being thought about! Mothers tend to spend their lives with heads full of the requirements of everyone and everything in their family. So, a day of being a bit carefree, with others taking up the strain is a wonderful aspiration!
Simplicity: A homemade card, a cup of tea in bed, a posy of Spring flowers is a lovely way to start the day and will be greatly appreciated. And maybe a treat?
If you cannot be there in person how about sending her a Mother’s Day present?
At The Wool Company, we can deliver Mother’s Day gifts that combine a loving, thoughtful gesture. A gift with with longevity. How about a warm, soft, practical throw to keep her warm and ‘cuddled’?
Sofa & Bed Throws . Longer lasting than flowers, it’s a gift that keeps on giving.
Or maybe consider a warm shawl that she can use all year round – choosing her favourite colour that you could combine with a posy with the same colours. Find Kashmiri embroidered shawls for a truly beautiful gift!
Have a look at our Pashmina Shawls Collection here
Other Mother’s Day gift ideas…
For the adventurous mother (of any age), how about some super comfortable and extremely long-lasting pair of kid mohair walking socks, and then organise a walk with her at her favourite spot, wearing the socks...
We have so many lovely colours to choose from.
If walking is not on the list of possible adventures, and you need something closer to home – a pair of warm, cuddly & cosy alpaca bed socks or cashmere bed socks to make a real difference to cold nights.
If your mother is mad about gardening, how about a sheepskin rug to drape on an outdoor chair or bench – giving immediate warmth and amazing comfort for the well earned cup of tea that is eminently portable from indoors to out.
Sheepskin is also a very thoughtful Mothering Sunday gift for anyone who has hobby which require long stretches of sitting down.
Wheter sitting at an easel, writing up memoirs or playing Scrabble, a sheepskin allows you to sit for longer and in so much more comfort.
Shop our Sheepskin Rug Collection
For those, who find that the day has crept up on them, and you require a last minute Mother’s Day gift, we have can arrange next day delivery.
Maybe be inspired by our Gifts for Women
Whatever you do for mothers on this important day, make sure they feel appreciated. We all need that!
A really excellent article about the history of Mothering Sunday, and establishing the difference between it and the American Mother’s Day. I did not expect to see such a sympathetic article to church practices from a wool company, even though it’s advertising your products as gifts for mothers! I shall copy it round to the church ladies if I can.