Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mothering Sunday

The fourth Sunday in Lent is celebrated in many churches throughout Europe (and its former colonies, including Kenya) as Mothering Sunday -- now sometimes called "Mother's Day," per the American tradition. Children present fistfuls of wildflowers to their mothers as gifts. However, Mothering Sunday has a long church history, vs. our more contemporary secular celebration in the U.S. Hundreds of years ago, people made pilgrimages to the largest medieval cathedrals, or "mother churches," in their own respective regions.

The Gospel lesson in the Anglican Church today is the story of the feeding of the five thousand. As a result, in many places Mothering Sunday also represents a brief lifting of the Lenten fast. In ancient times, household servants were permitted to have this one day off a year to go home. They would often make "seminal cakes," or marzipan fruitcakes, as gifts to take to their mothers. Eleven small eggs, representing the 11 apostles (no Judas Iscariot!), would be baked into the center of each cake. The custom of the seminal cake has been transferred to Easter Sunday in many countries in modern times. In rural Kenya, however, few people would have the means to buy the ingredients for a seminal cake at any time.

Whatever the country, whatever the tradition... Today, especially, I honor the memory of my own mother and grandmothers, as well as the lives of my daughters and daughter-in-law -- wonderful mothers, all! I also honor the Mothers' Union "Mamas" who are so generously caring for the orphans here in the Diocese of Maseno North. Happy Mothering Sunday, Everyone!

No comments: