Nimble fingers for Easter


Margaret Brown is one of The Resident’s longest standing contributors and has lived in the Algarve for more than 20 years. As well as Point of View, she also writes Country Matters twice a month.

MANY CENTURIES ago the fourth Sunday in Lent, known as Mothering Sunday, was a day when those who were able visited the Mother Church or diocesan Cathedral of their country parish, worshipping locally during the rest of the year.

Because children from poor families, often as young as 10 years old, were sent away to serve in the houses of the affluent, they rarely saw their parents and occasionally employers gave them the day off to go home.

With the passage of time, this privilege came to be considered as of right and bunches of flowers were gathered along the way for a child to give its mother.

Happy hearts

In Roman times, simila flour was used to bake what has become known as Simnel Cake (from the French word simenel).

Apparently, in the Victorian era young servants in England were allowed to bake a Simnel Cake to take home on this their one day off a year. It would be kept until Easter Day.

Not so long ago at the Church of Nossa Senhora da Luz in the Parish of St Vincent’s, Des Taylor, Lay Reader of that time, would make a Simnel Cake every year and give each of us a slice at the end of the service.

After he retired, a few nimble fingered members of the congregation have kept tradition alive with tiny bunches of flowers to send us home with happy hearts.

While this may seem trivial in comparison with the true purpose of the 40 days of Lent, it highlights both love and service as fruits of the Christian faith.

Christ’s words from the Cross to his Mother say it all: “When Jesus saw his Mother there, and the disciple whom he love standing nearby, he said to his Mother ‘Dear Woman here is your Son’ and to the Disciple ‘Here is your Mother’. From that time on the disciple took her into his home”. (John chapter 19 verses 25-27)