Mothering Sunday vs Mothers' Day: what's the difference?

Mothering Sunday, celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent, is more often known in modern Britain as “Mothers’ Day.” It’s easy to see why—in an increasingly secular world, the day holds no more significance, for most people, than the acknowledgment of the hard work mothers put into raising children. 

While this recognition of mothers’ efforts is commendable, a look at the origins of Mothering Sunday reveals a much richer picture.

“Mothering”, as a verb, refers to a caring and devotion that goes beyond the parent-child bond—we are all loved and cared for by an array of individuals and communities, throughout our lifetimes.  Mothering Sunday traditionally honours the role of the “mother church” in our spiritual care and development. For those of the Christian faith, the church holds and supports us through the ups and downs of life. It is the site of our rites of passage throughout life, and a spiritual home for millions of people. Let us not also forget that the church has an ancient history of supporting the poor and vulnerable, providing food and financial relief. This security and nurturing—this “mothering”—is a reflection of the unconditional compassion of Christ for all humanity.

Embrace’s Christian partners work to transform the lives of communities in the Middle East through this same compassion. Mothering Sunday provides a time to reflect on the incredible care and devotion of these partners, working across the region to tackle poverty and injustice. 

Our partners in Gaza, for example, are transforming the lives of vulnerable Palestinians through their urgent and vital work. Overcrowding and ever-deteriorating conditions in the area have led to an increase in infant mortality, while 80% of the population are dependent on some form of humanitarian assistance to survive. One of our partners in Gaza is the Al Ahli Arab Hospital, which provides quality care to those who would otherwise have no access to medical services.

Thanks to supporters like you, Al Ahli is able to support thousands of adults and children with medical treatment for a wide range of conditions, and is also able to run monthly Medical Missions, where mobile clinics are sent out to villages and refugee camps across the Gaza Strip to provide a full day of hospital support.

Partners like Al Ahli are true exemplars of mothering, demonstrating unconditional love in action. We are so proud of the work all our partners do to transform the lives of all in need, regardless of religious background, for the better.

This Mothering Sunday, we can all be inspired by the work of Embrace’s Christian partners to stand up against injustice, care for the vulnerable and practice radical compassion in our own communities. Indeed, at a time of uncertainty and anxiety around public health, we need these qualities more than ever.

“Mothering Sunday” may have become synonymous with “Mothers’ Day” in popular culture, but the true spirit of Mothering Sunday is worth preserving.

Just don’t forget your flowers for Mum!

Why not browse our gorgeous spring range and our fantastic array of Alternative Gifts and gift your mum something truly meaningful this Mothering Sunday.