When is Mother's Day? Mothering Sunday date in Scotland this year, origins of the celebration, and how it’s affected by coronavirus

Don’t panic… Mother’s Day is this weekend...

(Photo: Shutterstock)

You're slightly forgiven for forgetting on account of unlike other celebrations, Mother's Day doesn't have a set date and can fall on different dates each year, but the days of forgetting are over.

We're here to answer all your questions: how did the whole thing start, and just why do we celebrate it? How did the religious Mothering Sunday go on to become the chocolate and flowers stress trip that is Mother's Day?

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And how can we celebrate Mother’s Day in the time of coronavirus?

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Here's all you need to know about it:

When is Mother's Day 2020?

The all important question.

This year Mother's Day falls on Sunday 22 March in the UK, with the date set by the celebration's Christian foundation as Mothering Sunday.

If you need any further help remembering when the big day falls, it always takes place on the fourth Sunday in the festival of Lent (though you might also need a reminder of when that is), exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday.

How did Mother's Day begin?

Technically, in the UK we celebrate Mothering Sunday and not Mother's Day - more on that in a bit - and initially, the "mothering" aspect of the occasion had no connection to mothers in the way that it's celebrated today.

Its origins lie in the Middle Ages, when children who had left their families to work in domestic service were allowed to go to their home – or "mother" – church.

Further down the line, the date took on a further celebratory air, becoming a traditional occasion for the fasting rules of Lent to be relaxed, allowing revellers a long-awaited feast.

How did it become such a big deal?

For Mothering Sunday's transformation from church-related occasion to mum-honouring mega-holiday you seldom remember, blame America.

The American festival of Mother's Day - which is held later in the year and has no religious connotations - was created in 1907 by Anna Jarvis, who held a memorial for her peace activist mother who treated wounded soldiers in the American Civil War.

Jarvis campaigned for a day to honour the role played by mothers following her own mum's death, and the idea gained such traction that by 1911 all US states observed the holiday.

In 1914, it had become so ubiquitous that President Woodrow Wilson declared Mother's Day a national holiday "as a public expression of love and reverence for the mothers of our country".

Mother's Day rapidly became a major commercial opportunity, with Hallmark leading the way in manufacturing cards by the early 1920s.

It's not just you who begrudges the yearly pressure to stock up on last-minute cards and flowers for mum.

Jarvis deeply resented the materialistic side of the holiday she had created, and the commodification of sentimental symbols like the white carnation led her to withering criticism and even to being arrested for protesting against organisations selling Mother's Day merchandise.

The UK's Mothering Sunday is technically a different celebration to Mother's Day, but the success of the US holiday led to a resurgence in the traditional observance after interest had waned in the early 20th century.

By the 1950s, the practices of the Christian festival had broadly merged with the commercial aspects of Mother's Day, with the moniker gradually overtaking Mothering Sunday and the celebration becoming increasingly secular.

How will coronavirus affect Mother’s Day 2020?

Mother’s Day may be a little different this year, with the government urging people to implement social distancing and avoid going to bars and restaurants during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

For those who can't be with their mum’s this Mother’s Day, you could arrange a phone call or a Skype call, perhaps even doing some of the above ideas together over a video call.

You could also turn a Skype call into a chat with wine or a meal.

You could also sync Netflix, so you can watch a TV show or film together without being in the same room.

Netflix Party is a Google Chrome extension which allows you to watch films and TV series while chatting with your friends or family.

Although it has actually existed for a few years, it has enjoyed newfound popularity due to the number of people currently staying home.

The extension allows you to create a digital chatroom for any movie provided by the streaming service.

You can then invite your friends, allowing you all to talk using a sidebar on the screen as the movie plays.

The extension also allows you to use screenshots, emojis and gifs to add a little flavour to your conversation.

For more ideas on how to spend Mother’s Day under social distancing, click here

Coronavirus: the facts

What is coronavirus?

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can affect lungs and airways. It is caused by a virus called coronavirus.

What caused coronavirus?

The outbreak started in Wuhan in China in December 2019 and it is thought that the virus, like others of its kind, has come from animals.

How is it spread?

As this is such a new illness, experts still aren’t sure how it is spread.

But similar viruses are spread in cough droplets.

Therefore covering your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing, and disposing of used tissues straight away is advised.

Viruses like coronavirus cannot live outside the body for very long.

What are the symptoms?

The NHS states that the symptoms are: a dry cough, high temperature and shortness of breath - but these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness.

Look out for flu-like symptoms, such as aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose and a sore throat.

It’s important to remember that some people may become infected but won’t develop any symptoms or feel unwell.

What precautions can be taken?

Washing your hands with soap and water thoroughly.

The NHS also advises to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze; put used tissues in the bin immediately and try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

Also avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth unless your hands are clean.

Government advice

As of Monday 16 March the government advised that everyone should be observing social distancing - avoiding unnecessary travel and working from home where possible.

Anyone with a cough or cold symptoms now needs to self-isolate with their entire household for 14 days.

The government has also advised against going to the pub, out for dinner or partaking in any socialising with large groups.

This has caused a number of closures across the country. Schools will close from Friday 20 March for the foreseeable future and exams have been cancelled.

The over 70s or anyone who is vulnerable or living with an underlying illness are being asked to be extra careful and stay at home to self-isolate.

For more information on government advice, please check their website.

Should I avoid public places?

The advice now is to avoid public places and any non-essential travel.

Travel abroad is also being advised against for the next 30 days at least, and many European countries have closed their borders.

What should I do if I feel unwell?

Don’t go to your GP but instead look online at the coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and what to do next.

When to call NHS 111

NHS 111 should be used if you feel unwell with coronavirus symptoms, have been in a country with a high risk of coronavirus in the last 14 days or if you have been in close contact with someone with the virus.

Sources: World Health Organisation and NHS