The Origins of Father's Day

Posted by Madelaine Oke on

Father's Day is that special time of year when we get to shower our dads with love, appreciation, and maybe a little bit of humor. But have you ever wondered about the origins of Father's Day? How did this celebration of fatherhood come to be? Buckle up, because we’re about to take a fun and engaging trip through history!

The Seeds of Father’s Day

The idea of a day dedicated to dads didn't just pop out of nowhere. It’s rooted in a rich history of honoring parental figures. While Mother's Day had already become popular in the early 20th century, Father's Day needed a little more time to catch on.

The journey begins in Spokane, Washington in 1909. A woman named Sonora Smart Dodd was listening to a Mother's Day sermon at her church and thought, "Hey, what about dads?" Sonora was one of six children raised by her single father, William Jackson Smart, after her mother died during childbirth. She felt that fathers deserved recognition too.

The First Father's Day Celebration

Sonora Smart Dodd began her campaign to establish a day to honor fathers. Her persistent efforts paid off when Spokane celebrated the first Father's Day on June 19, 1910. The day featured special church services, where children would bring roses to their fathers—red for the living and white for the deceased.

The Road to National Recognition

Despite its local success, Father's Day took a while to gain national traction. The journey was filled with a few bumps and turns. It wasn’t until President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea in 1924 that it started gaining more attention. However, it still didn't become an official holiday.

During the 1930s, there was a movement to combine Mother’s Day and Father’s Day into one single “Parents' Day.” However, this idea didn’t sit well with the public. People wanted a day that specifically honored dads.

Finally, in 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. But it wasn’t until 1972 , under President Richard Nixon , that Father's Day was officially recognized as a national holiday in the United States.

A Global Celebration

Father's Day isn't just celebrated in the U.S.; it's a global phenomenon. In many countries, the date and traditions vary. For example:

  • Australia and New Zealand celebrate it on the first Sunday in September.
  • Brazil honors fathers on the second Sunday in August.
  • Germany celebrates it on Ascension Day (a religious holiday 40 days after Easter), known as Vatertag .

Fun Facts About Father’s Day

  1. Father’s Day Cards : According to the Greeting Card Association, Father's Day is the fourth-largest card-sending holiday in the U.S., with around 72 million cards exchanged annually.

  2. Gifts Galore : Common Father’s Day gifts include neckties, tools, and electronics. However, experiences like fishing trips, barbecues, and sports events are also popular.

  3. Roses to red hot fun : While roses were the original flower of Father’s Day, nowadays, you're now able to gift dad some of our favorites! 

Father’s Day has evolved into a beloved tradition that celebrates the importance of fathers and father figures around the world. From its humble beginnings in Spokane to a globally recognized holiday, Father's Day is a testament to the enduring love and respect we have for our dads. So, whether you're giving your dad a heartfelt card, a quirky gift, or just spending quality time together, remember the history behind the day and cherish every moment.

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