Why do we celebrate Mother’s Day – and where does the tradition come from?

Psssst… it’s on Sunday 22 March!
  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
  • Why do we celebrate Mother's Day - where does the tradition come from? To get you in the mood, here are some fascinating facts about Mother’s Day.

    Let’s hear it for mums across the UK. From wiping away our tears in childhood to supporting us in our adult lives, they do so much to help us.

    So whether you’re a daughter, son, parent or grandparent, Sunday 22 March is the time to share the love and say ‘Thanks, Mum’. To get you in the mood, here are some fascinating facts about Mother’s Day.

    Why do we celebrate Mother’s Day?

    Celebrating motherhood goes back to the Ancient Greeks. In their spring festival, they celebrated the goddess Rhea, considered the Mother of the Gods. Rhea was closely associated with another mother goddess, Cybele, whom the Romans honoured.

    Mothering Sunday

    Since at least the 16th century, Mothering Sunday has featured in the UK Christian calendar. Originally it wasn’t a celebration of motherhood, but a time during Lent when people returned to their mother church – the main church – for a special service. Often they’d meet their families there too.

    A visit home

    In the past, many apprentices and servants would be given Mothering Sunday off to visit their mothers. Usually, they would take a special cake known as a Simnel cake. This was a rich fruit mixture with layers of almond paste in the middle and on top, and decorated with 11 marzipan balls to represent the apostles of Jesus – minus Judas Iscariot.

    The perfect card

    We spend a staggering £73 million each year on Mother’s Day, and Brits send more cards per person than any other nation, according to Amanda Fergusson from the Greeting Card Association. And while so much of our shopping is done online these days, we prefer to keep it personal on this special day, with 94 per cent of us choosing a card from a shop. But the sweetest of all has to be your child’s homemade one!

    Mothers Day flowers

    We love giving flowers – two bouquets will be delivered every second across the UK on Mother’s Day, according to Inteflora. That’s 15 times more than an ordinary day. While pink flowers are a favourite, vibrant colours are increasingly popular. Our top five picks are carnations, roses, sunflowers, gerberas and tulips.

    READ MORE: Mother’s Day crafts for kids

    How will you be spending Mother’s Day?

    Drop a few hints on how you’d like to be treated this Mothering Sunday.

    1) A special breakfast

    Whether it’s your kids bringing you breakfast in bed, or you turn up at your mum’s laden with bakery treats, fresh-squeezed juice and a speciality tea, it’s sure to get Mother’s Day off to a brilliant start. We have plenty of ideas for the perfect Mother’s Day breakfast.

    2) A visit to the sea

    Why not wrap up warm and head to a breezy beach? Try Lulworth Cove in Dorset, Mount’s Bay in West Cornwall, West Sands Beach, St Andrews, Tyrella Beach, Co Down, or Cefn Sidanin, Carmarthenshire. Or, if you’ve having to stay indoors – bring a taste of the coast to your home, with these classic British seaside recipes.

    3) A fancy afternoon tea

    Lots of posh hotels and cafés do afternoon teas, often with a glass of fizz. Think Fortnum & Mason in London, The Balmoral in Edinburgh, or Bettys Café Tea Rooms in Yorkshire  Always book ahead. Of course, you can always hold your own at home – we have 30 afternoon tea recipes you’ll love.

    READ MORE: Mother’s Day days out around the UK

    We hope you have a wonderful day!