The oldest Mother’s Day celebration is mythological. The beginning of spring was celebrated in ancient Greece in honour of Rhea, the Mother of the Gods. This celebration is rooted in the ancient Greek custom of “mother-worship.” On the Ides of March, formal mother-worship was practised across Asia, with festivities honouring Cybele or Rhea, the Great Mother of the Gods. This tradition goes as far back as 250BC.
Mother’s Day, one of the most important events in England, is commemorated Sunday 27 March 2022. The ritual dates back to the time when the country was ruled by the Roman Empire and is still practised today.
The English Mother’s Day evolved from the merger of pagan and Christian practices, surrounded with symbolism and a great historical charge. The festival, which is influenced by the Roman Catholic Church, takes place on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Furthermore, the date coincides with the Hilaria celebration, which honours the goddess Cybele and is known as Magna Mater, the “Great Mother,” and is celebrated in Rome at the same time as the spring equinox, which marks the end of winter and the longest days.
Mothering Sunday is traditionally a religious feast observed by Catholic and Protestant Christians in several parts of Europe. It falls three weeks before Easter Sunday, on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Mothering Sunday was a day when sons and daughters put to labour in the wealthy’s households returned home in 17th century England. They’d see their mothers again, and they’d go to church together, of course. This occurred on the fourth Sunday of Lent, Laetare. Mother’s Day arose from this custom. The first records pointing to its formalization date back to the 1900s – people talk about 1908, an American woman called Anna Jarvis prepared a tribute for her mother. In Grafton, West Virginia, at St Andrew’s Methodist Church
The date evolved as it travelled around the world, gaining new variations, in countries such as Afghanistan, Russia, Vietnam, and Belarus. For many, Mother’s Day is associated with the Virgin Mary, and some shrines and church prayer sessions often pay particular respects on the occasion. And who knew that the practice of presenting them originated in Australia! Janet Heyden, a woman from Leichhardt, Sydney, established the trend in 1924 by giving out presents to mothers at the Newington State Home for Women.
The date’s higher religious significance faded over time. Currently, the children and grandchildren use the day to collect their families and pay a visit to the matriarch, as well as to offer flowers, cards, and sweets.
The simnel cake, also known as mothering cake, is another dating ritual that dates back to the Middle Ages. It is a confection consisting of dried fruits and almonds that is topped with 11 marzipan balls that commemorate the meeting of Christ’s 11 apostles (except Judas). This treat, in addition to being tasty, may be prepared ahead of time and savoured even after several days.