The difference between Mother’s Day and Mothering Sunday.

Today in the UK we are all celebrating Mother’s day, An annual occasion that we enjoy once a year and it gives us an excuse to spoil our Mothers. (Not that we need an excuse!)

Mother’s day, also sometimes referred to as Mothering Sunday is celebrated all over the world, but at different times of the year. In the UK we always celebrate this occasion on the fourth Sunday of Lent, whereas in America it is celebrated on the second Sunday of May. Mother’s day and Mothering Sunday are two different things.

I have always been interested as to why America and the UK celebrate this occasion on different dates and therefore to coincide with this day, I have devised a list of six different facts that I found interesting.

Many thanks for reading!


1) Mothering Sunday is an occasion celebrated by Catholic and Protestant Christians. During the sixteenth century people returned to their main mother┬áchurch for a service to be held on the fourth Sunday of the season of lent, known as Laetare Sunday. Anyone who often did this was commonly said to have gone “a-mothering”.

2) Mothering Sunday became a day where domestic servants were given a day off to visit their Mother/Main church, they usually went with their own Mothers and family. Because of this it was often the only time that the families could all gather together since on other days working hours and other duties would conflict. Servants were generally also not given free days on any other occasions.

3) Anna Jarvis who was born in the United States started a movement towards Mothers day in 1914. Three years after her Mothers death she held a memorial ceremony to honour her mother and all other mothers at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church, which marked the first official observance of what we now call Mother’s Day. In the following years Anna Jarvis embarked upon a campaign to make “Mother’s Day” an actual recognized holiday in the United States.

4) In the 1920s the custom of keeping “Mothering Sunday” had tended to lapse in areas of Ireland and Europe. Inspired by the works of Anna Jarvis as mentioned above, Constance Penswick-Smith from the United Kingdom created the “Mothering Sunday movement.” in 1921 she wrote a book asking for a revival of the festival. The traditions of Mothering Sunday still practiced by the Church of England and Church of Ireland were merged with the newly imported traditions in the wider society (Catholic and other.)

5) UK-Based Merchants took upon this chance of important commercial opportunity and therefore promoted the occasion relentlessly in the UK, By the 1950s it was celebrated across all of the UK and is still massively advertised today.

6) People in the UK and Ireland started celebrating Mother’s Day on the same day as Mothering Sunday (fourth Sunday in Lent) hence why the two occasions have now been mixed up. Many people believe they are the same thing.