skip to Main Content

The Origin of Mother’s Day: Simnel Sunday Mothering Day

The Origin Of Mother's Day: Simnel Sunday Mothering Day

Origin of Mother’s Day extends back to long before the Mother’s Day that we know in this day and age. Dating back to the Middle Ages, Europeans celebrated their mothers on the fourth Sunday of Lent, also known as Mothering (or Simnel) Sunday.

For most of its history, the holiday has had little to do with mothers, appearing to begin in the 16th century as a day for people to return to their mother church, the main church or cathedral in the area, rather than their actual mother.

Every year, European labourers, apprentices, and servants were granted a day off to return home and therefore, presumably to their mothers. Awww, that’s cute.

Children in service were also given the day off, and they would go out and collect wild flowers to place in the church or give to their mothers. This act may have evolved into our secular tradition of giving Mothering Sunday gifts to our mothers.

Read more articles on the Ancient Ways to live a modern life. Spreading awareness of all religions celebrations and connecting with the ways of the Ancients and ancestors is very close to my heart.

Religious Origins of Mother’s Day

Mothering Sunday is a day commemorating mother churches, the church where one is baptised and becomes “a child of the church,” observed on the fourth Sunday of Lent in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and some Commonwealth countries since the Middle Ages. Christians have traditionally visited their mother church on Mothering Sunday—the church where they received the sacrament of baptism.

Isaiah 66:10–11 and Psalm 122:1:

Rejoice ye with Jerusalem; and be ye glad for her, all ye that delight in her: exult and sing for joy with her, all ye that in sadness mourn for her; that ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations. Psalm: I was glad when they said unto me, We will go into the house of the Lord.

Celebrate the Origin of Mother’s Day with a Simnel Cake

Origin of Mother's Day The Celebration of Mothering Day with a Simnel Cake
The Origin of Mother’s Day: Simnel Sunday Mothering Day

Their Lenten fast was allowed to be broken, and all children baked a special type of cake for their mothers, a fruit cake with marzipan, which was then enjoyed by the entire family on their day of rest. This was a special time because it was often the only time older children saw their family all year, making it even more important and special.

The Simnel cake, like most British foods eaten in the winter and early spring, contains a lot of dried fruit, but it is much lighter than boozy Christmas cake and contains a layer of marzipan both on top and within, and is decorated with eleven marzipan balls, each representing one of Jesus’ disciples (minus the treacherous Judas of course).

Simnel cake’s origins can be traced back to mediaeval times, when it began as a yeast-leavened bread that may or may not have been enriched. This doesn’t sound that much like a special bread, you may think, but what made it special is that it made out of the highest quality flour possible; simnel derives from the Latin simila – the whitest and finest of flours.

The Evolution into Modern Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day, as it is now more commonly known, originated in West Virginia, across the pond. In 1908 Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother, continuing a campaign she had begun three years previously to set aside a day to honour mothers, “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world”.

Anna’s campaign was eventually successful, but, like many others, it suffered as a result of mass commercialization. Flowers and greeting cards, in particular, benefited from the holiday, and these are now popular daytime gifts in both the United States and the United Kingdom. But we have these companies to thank, because without the marketing of Anna Jarvis’s campaign, it’s debatable whether any of us would take this one special day a year to think of, be with, and offer our warmest thanks to “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world”.

Have You Got A Second To Help A Sister Out?

If you are enjoying the content brought to you DONC, VOILÀ QUOI., please comment & share and don’t forget follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Pintrest. Small gestures like this will help me to grow the site and keep brining quality content to you.

Please also be sure to watch my series on YouTube and Patreon which is all about my love of language.

Please also note that some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you click on an affiliate link and later make a purchase, I may receive a small commission.  Clicking on an affiliate link may earn a commission does NOT result in additional charges to you or cost you anything extra but it helps to support me to keep bringing you honest content. Don’t forget to check out the Donc Voila Quoi Amazon List for all my favourites.

Jessie LV Signature

Jessie LV

Jessie LV is a professional writer in a wide array of genres including content writing, professional writing and creative writing. She foundered Donc Voilà Quoi while living in Tours, France in 2015 when she fell in love with the phrase. When she isn't writing you'll find her out and about in nature, watching whodunit's or cooking up a storm. For writing inquiries please email on

This Post Has 2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top