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Mother’s Day: How They Celebrate It in the United Kingdom

Mother’s Day: How They Celebrate It in the United Kingdom

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Mothers are honored across the world and in countless different ways, here’s how they do it in the U.K.

On Mother's Day in the U.K moms are usually presented with a rich almond cake, which is often called a “Mothering Cake” or a “Simnel Cake."

The British honor their mothers on the fourth Sunday of May. The first was celebrated sometime in the 1600s on “Mothering Sunday” which has since become known simply as Mother’s Day. It’s usually celebrated with a family lunch where moms are presented with a rich almond cake (often called a “Mothering Cake” or a “Simnel Cake”).

Historically, during the early 17th century, Christian people in the U.K. returned to the main church or cathedral of the area (also known as the “mother church”) for a service to be held on Laetare Sunday (the fourth Sunday of Lent, usually falling between March 1st and April 4th).

In later times, Mothering Sunday became a day when domestic servants were given a day off to visit their mother church, usually with their own mothers and other family members. It was often the only time that whole families could gather together, since on other days they were prevented by conflicting working hours, and servants were not given free days on other occasions. The children would pick wild flowers along the way to place in the church or give to their mothers. Eventually, the religious tradition evolved into the Mothering Sunday secular tradition of giving gifts to mothers.

Later on, when Mother’s Day holidays celebrations gained prominence across the rest of world (the day was celebrated in May), merchants saw the commercial opportunities in the holiday and began relentless promoting it in the U.K. and after a while the newly imported tradition merged with those of the wider Catholic and secular societies.

Soon Mother's Day and Mothering Sunday became mixed up, and many people think that they are the same thing. As such the U.K. celebrates its Mother’s Day on the fourth Sunday of May.

From Mother’s Day menus and party ideas to the best cocktail recipes, we’ve got you covered. Find all this and more on The Daily Meal’s Mother’s Day Recipes & Menus Page.

Risotto is the ultimate comfort food and this asparagus and shiitake mushroom recipe is no different! Combining an Italian classic with Eastern flavours, this risotto recipe uses our Light soy sauce and oyster sauce to add a unique, rich flavour to the dish. Looking to turn this risotto into a vegan recipe? Swap out the oyster sauce for our Vegetarian Mushroom Stir-Fry Sauce to keep all of the flavours of the dish without having to compromise.

Why Do We Celebrate Mother’s Day?

Mother’s Day is a time held dear by families across the world a prompt for children who have moved away to come home and make a fuss of the women who brought them into the world. But how did this day come to be? Culture Trip takes a look at the story behind why we choose to celebrate our mothers just that little bit more once every year.

Mothers and mother-figures are indispensable. They’re likely the first people we ever know when we enter the world, and they love and care for us as we grow up. Once a year, countries around the world celebrate Mother’s Day – a day dedicated to all mothers, so that we can show our appreciation. Rooted in different traditions and enacted by individuals who recognise the imperative of commemorating women, every country that celebrates Mother’s Day does so in varied and gratifying ways.

In the UK and Ireland, Mother’s Day can be confused with Mothering Sunday, as the two share the same date. In the 16th century, Mothering Sunday began as a Catholic and Protestant Christian holiday, where people would visit their ‘mother’ church – the church in which they were baptised or the one they grew up attending – for Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Lent.

This was potentially the only day in the year on which families could all be together, as servants were only allowed a respite from their duties on Laetare Sunday. On the way to church, children would pick flowers to make bouquets to give to their mothers, and this eventually evolved into a tradition of gift giving. Mothering Sunday became less practised through the early-20th century, until the 1950s when merchants noticed a commercial opportunity, paving the way for today’s traditions in the UK.

Mother’s Day traditions in the United States began with Anna Jarvis. She once overheard her mother, a social activist who formed clubs to promote peace and friendship during the American Civil War (1861-65), pray for a commemoration day to acknowledge the service mothers give to humanity. After her mother’s death, Jarvis spent the early years of the 20th century campaigning relentlessly – and, eventually, successfully – for Mother’s Day to be a recognised holiday honouring all mothers. Similarly to citizens of Australia and South Africa, Americans celebrate the special day annually on the second Sunday in May, and gifts usually consist of carnations, the official flower of the day.

Many other countries around the world also celebrate on the second Sunday of May – including New Zealand, Canada and India – with festivities, dinners, pampering and gifts. In Mexico, colourful Mother’s Day celebrations occur on 10 May, where children hand-make their presents, and churches hold special masses.

Egypt and several other Middle Eastern countries celebrate on 21 March, the first day of spring, and on 12 August, Thailand holds prodigious festivities in honour of its Queen. In Russia, people used to celebrate on 8 March, which is International Women’s Day, but now do so on the last Sunday of November, though still typically giving presents in March.

All traditions, however, do share characteristics and ultimately honour mothers and women who have brought peace and improvement to the world. Despite consumerism gradually overpowering authenticity, the day will forever serve as a reminder of what mothers do for us. Even though we are able to – and definitely should – spoil our mothers on any day throughout the year, the denoted day gives us an excuse to express our utmost gratitude.

Ann Reeves Jarvis and Julia Ward Howe

The origins of Mother’s Day as celebrated in the United States date back to the 19th century. In the years before the Civil War, Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia helped start “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to teach local women how to properly care for their children.

These clubs later became a unifying force in a region of the country still divided over the Civil War. In 1868 Jarvis organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” at which mothers gathered with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation.

Another precursor to Mother’s Day came from the abolitionist and suffragette Julia Ward Howe. In 1870 Howe wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” a call to action that asked mothers to unite in promoting world peace. In 1873 Howe campaigned for a “Mother’s Peace Day” to be celebrated every June 2.

Other early Mother’s Day pioneers include Juliet Calhoun Blakely, a temperance activist who inspired a local Mother’s Day in Albion, Michigan, in the 1870s. The duo of Mary Towles Sasseen and Frank Hering, meanwhile, both worked to organize a Mothers’ Day in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some have even called Hering “the father of Mothers’ Day.”

Many people express love, gratitude, respect, and honour towards their mothers.

This year, with most of the country under a lockdown due to the rising COVID-19 cases, one should follow the protocols announced by the government while celebrating the occasion.

While going out is not an option, one should try connecting with their mothers by spending time with them. This can be in-person, via a phone call, or even a zoom meeting!

Several individuals also let their mothers rest the whole day while they take care of the cooking and other chores such as cleaning. People also send gifts on Mother’s Day, including jewellery, clothing, and even art or a homemade gift.

Most importantly, one should try to connect with their mothers while making them feel loved.

Mothering Sunday was originally a time when people returned to the church, in which they were baptized or where they attended services when they were children. This meant that families were reunited as adults returned to the towns and villages where they grew up. In time, it became customary for young people who were working as servants in large houses, to be given a holiday on Mothering Sunday. They could use this day to visit their own mother and often took a gift of food or hand-me-down clothing from their employers to her. In turn, this moved towards the modern holiday, on which people still visit and take gifts to their mothers.

Traditionally, people observed a fast during Lent. Lent is the period from Ash Wednesday until Good Friday. During the Lent fast, people did not eat from sweet, rich foods or meat. However, the fast was lifted slightly on Mothering Sunday and many people prepared a Simnel cake to eat with their family on this day.

A Simnel cake is a light fruit cake covered with a layer of marzipan and with a layer of marzipan baked into the middle of the cake. Traditionally, Simnel cakes are decorated with 11 or 12 balls of marzipan, representing the 11 disciples and, sometimes, Jesus Christ. One legend says that the cake was named after Lambert Simnel who worked in the kitchens of Henry VII of England sometime around the year 1500.

Mothering Sunday Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2016вск6 марMothering SundayObservance
2017вск26 марMothering SundayObservance
2018вск11 марMothering SundayObservance
2019вск31 марMothering SundayObservance
2020вск22 марMothering SundayObservance
2021вск14 марMothering SundayObservance
2022вск27 марMothering SundayObservance
2023вск19 марMothering SundayObservance
2024вск10 марMothering SundayObservance
2025вск30 марMothering SundayObservance
2026вск15 марMothering SundayObservance

While we diligently research and update our holiday dates, some of the information in the table above may be preliminary. If you find an error, please let us know.

Other Names and Languages

Other Holidays in март 2022 in the United Kingdom

Fun Holiday on 27 март 2022 г.

Spanish Paella Day

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National Grandparents Day in United Kingdom in 2021

In the UK, the celebration was founded by the charity Age Concern. It's been celebrated on the first Sunday in October since 2008.

This day is celebrated across the world, though on different dates: in France, a Grandmothers' Day is still celebrated on the first Sunday in March. In Germany, Grandmothers' Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in October, while there are also days to recognise grandparents in Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands and the Philippines.

The USA was one of the first to introduce the day in 1979. The day was first recognised in West Virginia in 1973 and became a national holiday in the US five years later when Jimmy Carter, the president at the time, signed a federal proclamation.

Whatever the date, let's celebrate our grandparents by giving them their time in the spotlight.

What are your favourite memories of your grandparents when you were younger? Did you have a favourite place you used to go with them as a special treat?

And it's a day to hear from grandparents too. What's the best thing about being a grandparent? Is it seeing a sparkle in their eyes because they are happy to see you? Perhaps it's because it makes you feel younger.

Chefs’ Picks: Mother’s Day Recipes

Most everyone wants to show Mom love on her special day. For those who plan to prepare homemade gifts, we polled a few chefs around the country on what they cook to make their moms feel treasured on Mother’s Day. Take your pick of recipes, from French berry tarts to a Mexican Love Cake, and make your mother’s day!

Executive Chef Chris Emerling of The Bel-Air in Los Angeles makes a recipe that’s been in his family for decades: his Grandma Emerling’s Chocolate Nut Square, an ode to his late grandmother. The squares are dense and sweet, loaded with walnuts and crunchy dark chocolate pearls. The dessert is also on the menu at The Bel-Air, so you can head over there for Mother’s Day or follow this similar recipe and make them for Mom at home.

Photo by: W Rush Jagoe V ©William Rush Jagoe V

W Rush Jagoe V, William Rush Jagoe V

Kelly Fields, the chef and a partner in Willa Jean, a New Orleans bakery and restaurant serving modern Southern fare for breakfast lunch and dinner, grew up in the low country of South Carolina. She stays true to her Southern roots on Mother’s Day, whipping up a batch of her mother’s famous Pimento Cheese. "Beyond being one of my mom's favorite things, this dish is perfect for Mother’s Day, as it can be set out as an all-afternoon snack,” she said. “Often on the weekends, we'd spend our time outside as a family in the yard, on the beach or in the boat. There were always snacks around, including pimento cheese. It's incredibly easy, fast, and can be made way ahead of time and kept on hand for perfect timing. Not to mention it's delicious served with or on just about anything."

Seed and mince the jalapeno set aside. Drain the pimentos well and dice if needed (diced pimentos are common to find). In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese until it is smooth and soft. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula halfway through to ensure even smoothness. Add in shredded cheddar cheese, garlic powder, cayenne, onion powder and crushed red pepper mix thoroughly. Once all incorporated, add in mayo, sour cream, jalapeno and pimentos. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Erling Wu-Bower, chef de cuisine at the Italian restaurant Nico Osteria in Chicago, loves to make his mother a dish of pasta on Mother’s Day. “I was born in South Bend, Indiana, but my mother was born in China, and she is a noodle expert,” he says. “I enjoy preparing the rigatoni for her, because it's an Italian noodle dish that even a Chinese noodle expert loves.” Erling says he likes to make her a bowl of handmade rigatoni in a classic Bolognese sauce with pork, veal and beef. “It’s a simple and classic Italian dish, not too heavy but full of flavor.”

Eric Kayser, the baker known round the world for his Viennoiserie, baguettes and library of over 100 types of artisan bread at Maison Kayser, says he had a dream when he was 3 years old that he would become a baker. His parents, who owned a bakery until he was 10, might have had something to do with nurturing that dream. On Mother’s Day, he favors something sweet and pretty for his mom: a raspberry tart.

Like many chefs, Lucero Martinez of New York City’s Pampano is often working on holidays. When she was growing up in Atlanta, her family owned (and still owns) a popular Mexican restaurant, Zocalo. The tradition in the their family was that Mom would come in for brunch and order her favorite dish — Love Cakes — a recipe developed by Martinez. These sweet black bean cakes are held together with masa, topped with fried eggs, salsa and served with a steak. “It’s what I make for my mom whenever we are together on Mother’s Day,” says Martinez.

Chef Lucero Martinez’s Love Cakes (Gorditas de Frijol)

In a large bowl, add the maseca, refried beans, water and salt. Mix well with your hands until fully incorporated. Begin making the patties by rolling the dough into 2- to 3-ounce balls and then flatting into disks, about 1/4 inch thick. To cook the patties, add 1/4 cup of canola oil to a large skillet and place over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add patties, 3 or 4 at a time. Let patties brown and become crisp before flipping (about 3 minutes per side). Serve immediately with sour cream, your favorite salsa and queso fresco or feta cheese.

In a medium saute pan, place canola oil and onion over a medium-high heat. Let the onions brown slightly, then discard. Add strained black beans to the pan and let them simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt and begin mashing beans in the pan until they reach a pureed consistency. Remove the beans from the pan and let cool.

For the past 10 years, Cava Grill’s Chef Dimitri Moshovitis has worked on Mother’s Day. Rather than spend the day alone, his mother has always come into the restaurant to have her son cook her something special. “My mom would come to wherever I was cooking and I would make her one of her favorite dishes, pan-roasted filet mignon eggs Benedict: grilled English muffins, thick slices of grilled tomato, perfect medium-rare filet mignon, silky lemony hollandaise, and I would finish the dish with lots of fresh cracked pepper. I'll make her the same this year at Cava,” he says. “It's where my obsession for hollandaise came from.” His hollandaise recipe, below, is guaranteed to make any egg dish special enough for Mother’s Day.

Muttertag – Mother’s Day in Germany

Mother’s day celebration in Germany takes place on the second Sunday of May. However, if this day happens to be the Pentecost (Pfingstsonntag) – the Christian festival for celebrating the descent of the Holy Spirit (held on the 7 th Sunday following Easter) – then Mother’s Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of May (a week earlier).

The history of Muttertag in Germany dates back to the Middle Ages. There was a Sunday in Thuringia (one of 16 federal states of Germany) when relatives used to visit and congratulate each other with spring. Spring was associated with the beginning of life, and women gave that life to humanity. Nobody worked, everybody went to their parents’ place, and mothers were blessed by their relatives on that day.

The year 1922 was the time when the Germans started to celebrate Mother’s Day for the first time, and in 1933 this occasion was declared an official holiday to be celebrated on the second Sunday of May.

From 1939 to 1945, Mother’s Day gained a remarkable position, where a tradition of giving The Cross of Honor of the German Mother was established. It was a state decoration conferred by the government of the German Reich in three classes: bronze, silver, and gold, to mothers who exhibited strong moral principles, exemplary motherhood, and who conceived and raised at least four or more children in the role of a parent. But this “golden era” of Mother’s Day did not last too long as by the end of the World War II Mother’s Day misplaced its Nazi elements, replaced by the more neutral elements of celebration by offering gifts, flowers and cards to mothers.

The way German people celebrate Mother’s Day is actually very similar to other countries. First of all, there are a lot of phone calls that German mothers receive from their children – as a form to express gratitude and adoration for their moms for the love and care given to them. There are a lot of colorful flowers that German mothers get on this day. Moreover, there are also white flowers sent to the graves of mothers who passed away, as well. Other forms of gifts are also chocolates, perfumes, cards, different surprising visits or traveling tickets and so forth. It is also very common for some people to visit their parents and cook in their homes for their mothers.

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