It’s a fine sunny day with plenty of daffodills in evidence, and the service is orientated to children. The rector brings out a strange looking cake with 11 marzipan balls on it, called Simnell Cake. Story goes that a mythical couple Simon and Nellie, had an argument about whether the cake should be boiled or baked, and the original recipe involved both. More likely origin is from the Latin word simila – meaning fine white flour, the origin of semolina. Modern recipes involve baking for at least 90 minutes and contain marzipan. The 11 balls represent the 12 apostles – minus Judas.
Like many festivals, Mothers’ Day has religious origins, being known through the years and in different places as: Refreshment Sunday, Pudding Sunday, Simnel Sunday, Mid-lent Sunday and even Rose Sunday. The church robes for this day are Red from an older name Laetare Sunday meaning Rejoice.
Originally, it had nothing to do with Mums – the mother bit meant your Mother-church where you were baptised. It was important to return to your mother church once a year, so was an occasion for reunions which gave a break from the 40-day Lenten Fast. Daughters would pick flowers for Mum on the way home, and servants would bake a cake for their employers.
In these more secular times, Mothering Sunday is generally known as Mothers’ Day with cards, cakes, flowers and lots of other merchandise. For restaurants, this and Valentine’s Day should be the busiest days of the year. As Gordan Ramsay hassaid, if your restaurant is not fully booked then, you have a serious problem.
In the USA and Australia, Mothers’ Day is celebrated in May, in Thailand in August where it is a national holiday. Next Mothers’ Day in UK is 22nd March 2020 – don’t forget!