The real meaning of Mothering Sunday

Families will be celebrating Mother's Day at St Faith's
Families will be celebrating Mother's Day at St Faith's
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THIS coming Sunday is Mothering Sunday, or Mother’s Day. I wonder which name you and your family use?

The original name of the celebration was Mothering Sunday. Back in the 1500s, which is the earliest reliable evidence we have, Mothering Sunday was already in full swing.

However, an interesting fact about Mothering Sunday is that, originally, it was not about seeing your mum, it was about returning to your mother church.

Most parish churches, you see, were daughter churches. On Mothering Sunday people returned to their mother church, which was usually the cathedral of the diocese in which they were baptised.

Back then, for people who lived in Gosport (Lee-on-the-Solent didn’t exist!), the mother church would have been Winchester Cathedral.

And so, on Mothering Sunday, people would have gone there. And people who made that journey to go back to their mother church were said to have gone ‘a-mothering’.

At some point, this practice seems to have died out, and in the past 60 years or so, the name has shifted to Mother’s Day, and the day has become about celebrating human mothers, and all they do.

Mother’s Day can bring lots of different emotions to the surface.

Thankfulness for our mums, or sadness because they’re no longer with us.

Sorrow because our mums were absent or difficult in our childhoods, or pain because we weren’t able to have children ourselves.

So although for many Mother’s Day is a day of celebration, for others it has a different feel.

At St Faith’s at Lee-on-the-Solent, we try to acknowledge the wide range of people’s responses as we mark Mother’s Day. We have two special services on Sunday morning.

At 9.30am we have a special Parish Eucharist for Mother’s Day, and at 11am the Lee Infant School Choir and their families will be joining us at Sundays@11, to help us celebrate.

At both services there will be an opportunity to light a candle for our mums, or to recognise that we find this day difficult. You are very welcome to join us!

Whatever feelings Mothering Sunday, or Mother’s Day, provokes within you, and whatever you’re doing to mark the day, I pray that you will have a blessed and peaceful day, whoever you are.

Please feel free to come along to out Mother’s Day service this weekend in Victoria Square – for more information you can call (023) 9255 6445.