This year, Mother’s Day falls on 22 March, and many of us will choose to send a bouquet of flowers to the women who raised us. Flowers, chocolates and a card – we all buy them, but why?
The practice of giving flowers is a centuries-old tradition. Mothering Sunday, as it is formally titled in Britain, originated in the 17th century, when people were encouraged to return to their main, or ‘mother’ church to worship, rather than their home or parish church.
As many domestic staff would have to journey from their place of employment to do this, a tradition emerged of allowing them the luxury of a day off work to visit their families – similar to Boxing Day.
As they walked back to their home villages, they would pick wild spring flowers to present to their mothers – especially violets, with their evocative scent and vibrant colouring.
If you’re interested in keeping up this tradition, you can learn how to craft your own hand-tied bouquet at a workshop run by Common Farm Flowers in Somerset. Choose and cut the blooms yourself from their meadows, then get tips on how to arrange them for the most beautiful effects. It’s a more grown-up but still personal version of when, as a child, you’d craft gifts and cards to present to your proud mum.
The practice of honouring Mothering Sunday waned in the UK but was revived in the 1920s following the popularity of Mother’s Day in America, which was made an annual public celebration in 1914 by President Woodrow Wilson.
You might have noticed State-side friends celebrating at a different time. In the UK, Mothering Sunday falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent, so the date moves. But America marks it on the second Sunday in May.
Whichever side of the Atlantic you’re on, if you’re looking for an alternative to a bouquet and a box of chocolates for your mother this year, one of our floral scented candles would make a lovely and different Mother’s Day gift.
Secret Garden and Dressing Room are perfect for this occasion. Secret Garden, with its notes of mandarin flower, peony, hyacinth and lily of the valley, combined with a complex base of musk, vetiver and heliotrope, evokes a bouquet of fresh white blooms.
Dressing Room is redolent of me-time spent at an elegant vanity table. As a child, Birch & Brook founder Jessica would watch her grandmother applying face powder, and the candle, with its soft, powdery rose combined with peony and a touch of violet, was inspired by the scent of this old-fashioned make-up.
Both choices are a more novel option than the usual bouquet, and also offer a sweet link back to those ancestors who journeyed back to their home villages to visit their mothers, picking wildflowers and fashioning posies as they went.
And the experience of scent they offer will far outlast a bunch of flowers.