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May 07, 1999|JAMES E. FOWLER

Julia Ward Howe, who wrote the words to the "Battle Hymn of the Republic," first suggested the idea of an American Mother's Day in 1872. In 1907, a Philadelphia woman named Anna Jarvis, who never had children but was inspired by her own mother, began lobbying for a legal holiday. Seven years later, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Mother's Day a national holiday to be observed on the second Sunday in May. Today, Mother's Day is celebrated all over the world. Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Australia and Belgium celebrate Mother's Day the same day as the United States.

* You could take mom out to dinner. It is said that Mother's Day is the busiest day of the year for restaurants, so you better pick up the phone and make your reservations right now.

* You could send mom a Mother's Day card. If mom is a Web surfer, Blue Mountain Arts (www1.bluemountain.com) offers free online Mother's Day cyber cards. They have more than 30 designs to choose from. Some come with music. You can personalize the greeting with your own message.

* American Greetings is offering Celebrity Mother's Day cards that honor mom and battle breast cancer. Actresses Diahann Carroll, Peri Gilpin and Daisy Fuentes have each designed Mother's Day cards available at Rite-Aid stores nationwide. Proceeds from the cards will be donated to an early breast cancer detection program for low-income and uninsured women.

* If you want your sentiment expressed on something less temporal than a card, you could always get a tattoo. Mom will be thrilled, no doubt. Matt Butler, a tattoo artist at Yoni Tattoo, says a favorite is Mother over a heart with some cherry blossoms. The bigger the tattoo, the higher the price. There's a $50 minimum. The best part is that you can have it done anywhere on your body--mom's seen it before. Yoni Tattoo, 18547 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana. (818) 996-9152.

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