In the UK, Laetare Sunday is Mothering Sunday, or as it is becoming more popularly known, Mother’s Day. The name derives from an ancient tradition of people travelling back to their ‘mother’ church on the Fourth Sunday in Lent, or Laetare Sunday. The ‘mother’ church was the one in which they had grown up. This tradition derives from the Epistle reading which states that the source of our joy should be in knowing that we are sons of God looking forward to redemption through the risen Christ. (The faithful celebrate Christ’s Resurrection at Easter, the greatest of all Church feasts.)
Because transport was difficult and travel lengthy — people journeyed home by horse, carriage or on foot — it was also a special occasion for their families. Those who made this trip were said to be going ‘a-mothering’. This carried a double meaning of pilgrimage to their church and a visit to their mother. The Canterbury Tales blog says the custom lasted for 300 years and ended sometime in the 19th century.
This is an important tradition in the UK and just because modernists don’t like it and the new rationalists go all apoplectic when the various holidays and festivals are mentioned, that doesn’t make them any the less our traditions. Though I’m obviously dead against it, Beltane is also a tradition in these isles and I’m not going all apoplectic about it. The pagans were here before the Christians. The yule log is also a tradition.
It’s insane to suggest that celebrating or remembering a tradition is proselytizing and it says a lot about those people’s own minds and how far they’re sucked into the narrative.
So, in defiance of those who would shut us up on British traditions, all the best to all mothers out there and may the day be a happy one.