In the United Kingdom and Ireland, there was a celebration called Mothering Sunday, which fell on the fourth Sunday of Lent (3 April in 2011). Most historians believe that it originated from the 16th century Christian practice of visiting one's mother church annually on Laetere Sunday, which meant that most mothers would be reunited with their children on this day when young apprentices and young women in servitude were released by their masters that weekend. As a result of secularization, it was then principally used to show appreciation to one's mother, although it is still recognized in the historical sense by some churches, with attention paid to Mary the mother of Jesus Christ as well as the traditional concept 'Mother Church'.
By 1935 Mothering Sunday was less celebrated in Europe. There were efforts to revive the festival in the 1910s-1920s by Constance Penswick-Smith, but it wasn't revived until US World War II soldiers brought to the UK the Mother's Day celebrations, and it was merged with the Mothering Sunday traditions still celebrated in the Church of England. By the 1950s it had become popular in the whole of the UK, thanks to the efforts of UK merchants, who saw in the festival a great commercial opportunity. People from Ireland and UK started celebrating Mother's Day on the fourth Sunday of Lent, the same day on which Mothering Sunday had been celebrated for centuries. Some Mothering Sunday traditions were revived, such as the tradition of eating cake on that day, although they now eat simnel cake instead of the cakes that were traditionally prepared at that time. The traditions of the two celebrations have now been mixed up, and many people think that they are the same thing.
Mothering Sunday can fall at the earliest on 1 March (in years when Easter Day falls on 22 March) and at the latest on 4 April (when Easter Day falls on 25 April).