The fourth Sunday of Lent is commonly known as “Mothering Sunday”, and is the origin of the reason the day is so named. Traditionally, it was a day when servants were given the day off to visit the mother church (cathedral) of the diocese, and to visit their own mothers, customarily eating Simnel Cake with them (hence the relaxation of fasting rules during Lent). As a result, the day also became known as Refreshment Sunday, in which there was a relaxation of the Lenten fast, by consuming food, so as to strengthen/ re-energize the body, in order to continue the remainder of the Lenten journey. So, on this day, the Church (and the traditional social) festival is “Mothering Sunday” and celebrates all aspects and types of motherhood.
Timothy L’Estrange (2013); Refreshment Sunday, 2013.