- A day in honor of mothers and/or one's mother church, which falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent, exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday, especially in the United Kingdom and Ireland; compare a-mothering.
1905, John Brand, William Carew Hazlitt, “National Faiths”, in Faiths and folklore: a dictionary of national beliefs, Vol 2, page 424:
- Mothering-.—In former days, when the Roman Catholic was the established religion, it was the custom for people to visit their Mother Church on MidLent Sunday, and to make their offerings at the high altar. ...the now remaining practice of Mothering, or going to visit parents upon Mid-Lent Sunday, is really owing to that good old custom.
1894 March, Mary B. Merrill, “Mothering Sunday”, in St. Nicholas: a monthly magazine for boys and girls, volume 21, page 388:
- "Mothering Sunday," the fourth Sunday in Lent, when absent sons and daughters — particularly the young apprentices — would return to their homes with some little present for both parents, but more especially for the mother. ...Imagine the ... pride of the mother in the simple gift, and the admiration of the small brothers and sisters who gathered around and longed for the time when they also would be out in the great unknown world and could come "a-mothering."