Where did it all begin?
The earliest accounts that relate to a 'Mothers Day' date back to the ancient annual spring festival the Greeks dedicated to a maternal goddesses. The Greeks used the occasion to honor Rhea, wife of Cronus and the mother of many deities of Greek mythology.
Similar spring festivals were also prevalent in Ancient Rome. Romans celebrated their own spring festival, called Hilaria. During this festival, Cybele – a mother goddess – was honoured. This festival was celebrated on the Ides of March (15th of March) by making offerings in the temple of Cybele. The celebrations continued for three days and included parades, games and masquerades.
Connections to the church
Churchgoers would regularly use their nearest parish or 'daughter' church to worship - albeit when the spring celebrations arrived, usually around the fourth Sunday of Lent, worshipers were asked to return to their home or 'Mother' church for spiritual protection that would give life and keep family members from harm. Over time the church festival became an opportunity for people to celebrate both the church and the work of mothers in general.
A day of celebration
Mother's Day or Mothering Sunday has since become a regular celebration of mothers and an opportunity for the family to show their appreciation. During Victorian times many of the poor worked as servants for the wealthy. As most jobs were located far from their homes, the servants would live at the houses of their employers. On Mothering Sunday, the servants would have the day off and were encouraged to return home and spend the day with their mothers.
A special cake, called the mothering cake (or Simnel), was often brought along as a gift - hence why a Mother's Day meal has also become popular in modern times.
On Mothering Sunday, the servants would have the day off and were encouraged to return home and spend the day with their mothers.
Today, Mother's Day is celebrated all over the World and although the celebration can take on a variety of guises, the celebration of the Mother and motherhood is always at the forefront.