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Mother's Day turns 100

May 11, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A century after it was first observed, Mother's Day will be celebrated in Southern California Sunday with events honoring mothers who are at least 100 years old and another for those affected by violence. The Los Angeles Jewish Home in Reseda will be the site of a tribute to six women who are at least 100 years old. The oldest is 105. A specially baked cake with 100 candles will be presented.

The Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center will hold its fourth annual Mother's Day Lunch in Baldwin Hills, honoring mothers who have had children murdered or been victims of violence themselves.

"I hope that one day we won't have to do these types of events, but for now it is our vision to provide hope and a tangible way to give love to those who feel a loss during this time," said Sandra Evers-Manly, the event's host and founder of the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center, a nonprofit organization which seeks to preserve the history of blacks in film and television and provide opportunities for them.

The Volunteers of America Greater Los Angeles chapter will host its 23rd annual "I Remember Mama" luncheon at the Los Angeles Marriott Downtown, honoring what an organizer described as "more than 300 lonely, elderly mothers," for many of whom "this is the only time of the year they can dress up and have a day dedicated to them."

More than 200 underprivileged children who are taking music classes at Los Angeles City College will perform in a concert titled "For Mom, With Love" at Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills' Hall of Liberty.

Mother's Day was initially proposed in 1870 by activist-poet Julia Ward Howe as a call for peace and disarmament. It was celebrated in 18 cities in 1873, continued for about another 10 years in Boston under Howe's backing, then died out.

On May 9, 1907, the second anniversary of her mother Ann Jarvis' death, Anna Jarvis invited several friends to her home in Philadelphia in commemoration of her mother's life, which included providing nursing care and promoting better sanitation during the Civil War, helping save lives on both sides.

The younger Jarvis announced to her friends her idea of a day of national celebration in honor of mothers.

The first Mother's Day was celebrated on May 10, 1908 at the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, W.V., where Ann Jarvis worshipped. The church is now known as the International Mother's Day Shrine.

West Virginia Gov. William E. Glasscock issued the first Mother's Day proclamation in 1910 and by 1911, it was celebrated in nearly every state. President Woodrow Wilson signed a congressional joint resolution in 1914 designating the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day nationally.

Mother's Day has evolved into the most popular day of the year to dine out -- with 38 percent of consumers doing so, according to a survey conducted for the National Restaurant Association.

This year's Mother's Day-related consumer spending is expected to reach $15.8 billion, with consumers spending an average of $138.63, compared to $139.14 last year, according to the National Retail Federation's 2008 Mother's Day consumer Intentions and Actions Survey. The study, conducted by BIGresearch, found that 84.2 percent of consumers will celebrate Mother's Day.

"Consumers will be very cautious with their wallets this Mother's Day, heeding mom's advice that she really doesn't want much," BIGresearch Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. "Gas prices and other economic issues will still be at the forefront of people's minds as they shop around for the perfect gift for mom."

In his Mother's Day proclamation, President Bush quoted former President Ronald Reagan, who once said, "From our mothers, we first learn about values and caring and the difference between right and wrong."

"By providing a nurturing environment where their children can grow in confidence and character, mothers lay the foundation for the next generation of American to realize their full potential," Bush said.

To Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, the best way to celebrate Mother's Day is simply for children to spend time with their mothers.

"It doesn't have to be going out to brunch or dinner," said Burke, who in 1973 became the first member of Congress to give birth while in office.

"We never go to restaurants (on Mother's Day) because it's so crowed and gets to be more difficult to communicate. Whatever way you do it -- at church or at home -- just set aside a few minutes where mother and daughter or son can get together and really re-institute their relationship."

 

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