Mother’s Day in UK has a religious intonation especially for the Christians for it is celebrated in conjunction with Mothering Sunday which is a Christian holiday celebrated on the 4th Sunday during the period of Lent.

From the Secular perspective however, the day is one to pay tribute and respect to mothers and mother figures in general.

Background of Mother’s Day in UK:

During the sixteenth century, there was this custom for people to return to their native church on the fourth Sunday during the period of Lent, known as Laetare Sunday. This tradition was known as “a-mothering”. This was the period when people who were in service at places away from their hometown got leave, and the day became an occasion for reunion and jubilation.

However, by the 1920s the custom of religiously celebrating this day kept fading. The movement of Anna Jarvis in the United States to promote Mother’s Day had rippling effect in the United Kingdom too, and the movement fast gained popularity in continental Europe.

During the period of 1914, inspired by the movement of Anna Jarvis, Constance Penswick-Smith started the Mothering Sunday Movement. In 1921 she penned a book to uphold the revival of the festival. UK based retailers saw in this the commercial opportunity and backed her in her movement, and by the 1950s Mother’s Day was firmly established in United Kingdom.

Date of Mother’s Day in UK in the next few years:

In United Kingdom, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of the Christian observance of Lent, each year, and is also known as Mothering Day.

  • In 2014, Mother’s Day would be on Sunday, March 30.
  • In 2015, Mother’s Day would be on Sunday, March 15.
  • In 2016, Mother’s Day would be on Sunday, March 06.
  • In 2017, Mother’s Day would be on Sunday, March 26.
  • In 2018, Mother’s Day would be on Sunday, March 11.
  • In 2019, Mother’s Day would be on Sunday, March 31.
  • In 2020, Mother’s Day would be on Sunday, March 22.


Observances on Mother’s Day:

Originally Mothering Sunday was the time when people visited the Church in which they were baptized or the one they attended service as children. This was actually a reunion of family, friends and neighbors for people returned to their native place during this time of the year even if they had scattered away from it due to the needs of life. In old England, it was the custom for the household helps to get holiday on this day. These people, usually young ones, generally took some food or clothing along with them for their family, especially their mother, on such visits. This established the trend of taking a gift for one’s mother on this day.

There was also this traditional custom of baking and devouring the Simnel Cake on this day in honor of one’s mother. This was considered a break from the fasting period of Lent during which people usually refrained from eating rich food like eggs, meat, dairy products etc. Simnel Cake is basically a light fruitcake that was baked with a layer of marzipan on top and also in the middle. These cakes were often decorated with eleven or twelve balls made of marzipan – the first eleven each representing the eleven disciples, and the twelfth one Jesus Christ. According to some scholars the cake was named after Lambert Simnel who worked in the kitchen of the then King of England Henry VII sometime around the 1500s.

Flowers also have a special part in Mother’s Day celebration. Carnations are considered special for the occasions. Once upon a time it was a custom to wear carnations in one’s lapel while attending Church services on this day – a red one to cheer for one’s living mother; and a white one if one was honoring a deceased mother. This tradition however faded with time, and today most people simply send their moms bouquets of their favorite bloom.

These days, people uphold the secular side of the celebrations more as they take this opportunity to spend more time with their mothers or other mother figures like aunt, grandmother, teacher or a mentor. Rushes at retailers and restaurants prove the commercial success of the day. People gift their moms a pampering day to show their love and the moms enjoy all of the unadulterated affection.