Mothering Sunday

Steven Schaufele fcosw5 at MAIL.SCU.EDU.TW
Tue May 10 05:03:26 UTC 2005

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> Is this because of something in the readings of the day in the Christian churches,
> or just to avoid the day coinciding with Easter or one of the other religious feasts
> on various Sundays after Easter (Pentecost, Trinity, and in the Catholic Church,
> Corpus Christi)?
> Allen Thrasher

Historically, the Fourth Sunday in Lent was treated as a brief `relaxation' from Lenten discipline.  In Mediaeval Europe, apprentices were allowed to return to their natal homes for that weekend, to visit their parents, etc.; this is an important part of why it came to be known as `Mothering Sunday'.  It's also known (in e.g. traditional Roman Catholic circles) as `Laetare Sunday', after the opening of the Proper Introit for the day, which carries essentially the same upbeat sort of message (`laetare' = rejoice).  Even today, the Propers still show a clear change of focus from the more discipline-centered readings early in Lent to the expectancy looking towards the Passion.


Steven Schaufele, Ph.D.
English Dept., Soochow University
Taipei, Taiwan
Telephone: (home) 2877-1090
(office) 2881-9471 ext. 6504
(fax) 2881-7609
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