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Mothering Sunday 31 March

15 September 2020

Mothering Sunday

At the end of this month is the day we all take a step back and make sure these most special of women have a day for themselves.

Mothering Sunday started in the 1600s in England and Scotland and was a festival held on the last Sunday in Lent for people to visit their “mother church”. This was the church a person was baptised in, or their local parish church where they were born.

It was often the only day of the year where whole families could get together as working life back then was a lot harder and longer than it is today.

People who were “in service” (household servants) were given the day off to visit their home parish to visit their families at their mother-church. As the festival was in spring, children would often pick flowers on route to give to their mothers and to decorate their mother church. So when you get your bunch of daffodils at the end of March, you now know the reason why!

The Great Mothering Sunday revival

After a period of popularity, the festival fell out of favour and virtually disappeared.

Here at QuidMarket we’re proud of Nottingham and the people of Nottingham – and Mothering Sunday is an example of what one woman from Nottingham has done for people around the world.
In 1913, a vicar’s daughter called Constance Penswick Smith from Coddington, a village near Newark just outside Nottingham started a 30 year quest to bring back the traditional values of mothering Sunday in response to a new commercial festival called Mother’s Day that started in the USA.

Fearing the new day in America would teach children the values of commercialism rather than remembering the hard fought jobs our mothers have done for us all, Constance set up her headquarters in a Nottingham street and helped children design cards to give to their mothers.

She also wrote plays and articles to promote interest but was met with adversity from organisations such as the Mothers Union who thought the custom had been “dead for so long revival was virtually impossible.”

But, coming from a city that gave the world the MRI Scanner, Genetic Fingerprints, Ibuprofen, the Jet Engine, nursing, the Salvation Army, Lord Byron, Ada Lovelace – a city with a long line of overcoming adversity – Constance would not give up.

By 1921 she had published a book showing how the custom is celebrated all over the world. Gradually, with her tenacity, various members of the establishment started to take notice and by 1936 various churches were performing an order of service designed by Constance on Mothering Sunday.

Over time, Mothering Sunday has become an established date in the calendar regardless of religion – and recognised in countries all over the world as the one day of the year we can all give thanks to our own mothers and the most amazing of jobs they do for us all.

So this mothering Sunday, take a moment to think about this one Nottingham woman who made it possible for us all to gave mothers the day they deserve.

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