Mother's Day: four quirky traditions for your table
The arrival of fine weather and a perennial love for mum makes Mothering Sunday the perfect excuse for a family get-together - and you can make it an extra special occasion by introducing some of these quirky traditions into your table décor...
Daffodils are the symbolic flower of Mother’s Day, and these sunny spring blooms instantly brighten up the dinner table in even the simplest displays. Pop a bunch of fresh-cut daffs into a shiny enamel milk jug, tying a lilac ribbon around the neck for a bit of extra colour.
For a more elaborate display, take two bunches of daffodils and arrange them into layers by trimming half the stems so that the heads just peek out over the top of the vase. Arrange the shorter flowers around the edge, and put the longer stemmed daffodils in the centre.
Alternatively, to create beautiful individual place setting decorations, you can also take one of the smaller varieties, like narcissus tazetta, and put them in a bunch with a few sprigs of violet. Finally, tie with a ribbon and place these little bouquets by each place setting.
Loaves of bread have a traditional place on the table on Mother’s Day. In Ireland, it always falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent, traditionally known as the Day of Five Loaves, referring to the 'feeding of the five thousand'. Give a nod to this old custom by baking miniature bread loaves as a starter, served with home-made fish paté or smoked salmon garnished with dill.
Mothering Cake isn’t just a sweet way to round off your Sunday lunch: it also makes an attractive, original centrepiece. Also known as Simnel cake, this light fruit dessert is a springtime classic with fragrant spices and plenty of marzipan: one layer in the middle, and one on top. Decorate it in the traditional way, with sugared violets and eleven marzipan balls, and present it on a gleaming glass cake stand for a pretty addition to any table.
Conversation starters, positioned next to every place setting, are the perfect way to show some appreciation for mum - and also to inspire a few giggles. Write a phrase like “the best piece of advice my mother ever gave me…” or “my mother always told me…” on each card, to get everyone reminiscing. At the end of lunch, when coffee is served, you can go around the table and ask everyone to share their fond memories, and the sage wisdom they’ve been given by their mums.