Robin Ward: March 2020
Mothering Sunday was also known as 'Refreshment Sunday', 'Pudding Pie Sunday' or 'Mid-Lent Sunday'. It was a day in Lent when the fasting rules were sometimes relaxed, in honour of Jesus feeding the Five Thousand. The more usual name was Mothering Sunday, but no one is absolutely certain exactly how that tradition first began.
But we do know that about 400 years ago Mothering Sunday was adopted by people who made a point of visiting their nearest big church (the Mother Church), or the church where they were baptised, and they would say that they had gone "a mothering."
And many years ago, girls and boys who had left school at the age of 13 or 14, would often go to work 'in service' as maids or servants or apprentices, and they were only allowed one day each year to visit their family, usually on Mothering Sunday.
Often the housekeeper or cook would allow the maids and servants to bake a Simnel cake to take home for their mother. And the boys were allowed to take a gift of eggs or flowers. The Simnel cake is a fruit cake. A layer of marzipan is placed on top and it was then decorated with 11 marzipan balls or eggs to represent the 12 apostles, minus Judas, who betrayed Christ, and it was often saved until Easter Sunday when it was shared with all of the family.
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