Fathers Day Origins: How It Came To Be
Father’s Day is a widely known celebration. It honours fathers and celebrates fatherhood. As well also as paternal bonds and the general influence of good fathers in society as a whole. Like Mother’s Day it is a world wide celebration. But surprisingly it is neither celebrated on the same day, nor a public holiday uniformly around the world. Infact it is celebrated on 26 different days throughout the year. Starting on January 6th in Serbia and finishing on 26th December in Bulgaria. But what of the Fathers Day Origins?
We all celebrate it. But how did it come to be?
Fathers Day Origins
The exact details of the Fathers Day Origins are unclear. But some historians believe that the tradition started in Babylon as long as 4,000 years ago. A son called Elmesu supposedly carved a father’s day message on a clay card. Wishing him a long and healthy life.
In more recent times the tradition of celebrating Father’s Day as we know it today originated in the last century. Several people are credited for furthering the cause of Father’s Day.
This includes the delightfully named Mrs. Grace Golden Clayton. She organised a ‘celebration’ to the lives and memories of the 210 fathers who had been tragically lost in the Monongah Mining disaster in West Virginia, on December 6, 1907.
However it is generally agreed that Ms Sonora Louise Smart Dodd made the most valuable contribution.
A loving daughter from Spokane, Washington, Ms Dodd is recognized as the Founder (or perhaps more aptly the Mother) of the Fathers Day Festival. She conceived the idea in 1909, at the age of 27, when she happened to hear a Mother’s Day sermon. Sonora immediately began to recognise the hardships and sacrifices her father must have made. Not least because he was left to bring up his six children alone after his wife died during childbirth. Remembering that she was only 16 at the time, Sonora reasoned that if there is already in place day to recognise mothers then why is not there a day to honour fathers?
At first many people ridiculed Sonora’s idea. However this did not deter her. She waged a driven and heartfeld campaign of lobbying for the cause of Father’s Day. Her hard work and diligence began to show signs of success when the city of Spokane, with the support of the Spokane Ministerial Association and the local Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), celebrated its first Father’s Day on June 19, 1910.
To honour her own father, Sonora wished that Father’s Day be celebrated on his birthday on June 5. But as it turned out there was not enough time for adequate preparation. So the day came to be celebrated on third Sunday in the month of June.
The idea of celebrating Father’s Day soon gained support in high places. In the USA President Woodrow Wilson first approved of it in 1916. President Calvin Coolidge also backed the idea. But it was President Lyndon Johnson who signed a Presidential Proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June in 1966 to be Father’s Day.
Finally in 1972, over 60 years after Dodd had first come up with the idea, and six years before her death, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father’s Day to be held on the third Sunday of June.
Despite the support of these Presidents, the YWCA, the YMCA and various churches around the world Father’s Day was still derided by some cynics as merely a marketing ploy and the first step to filling the calendar with mindless promotions. To be fair it is not hard to see why they thought this.
Originally Father’s Day celebrations tended to involve family oriented activities like dinners, picnics and day trips and not necessarily the act of giving a gift. The motivating trigger for this turned out to be The Associated Men’s Wear Retailers who formed a National Father’s Day Committee in New York City in the 1930s, (which was later renamed in 1938 to National Council for the Promotion of Father’s Day and incorporated several other trade groups) with the expressed intention of legitimising the celebration in the minds of the general public and managing it as a commercial event in order to boost sales.
Rather cleverly the Committee used the pervading tendency to ridicule and deride Father’s Day to their advantage by mocking the holiday on the very same advertisements they used to promote it. Banking, quite correctly as it turned out, that consumers would feel obliged to buy their father’s gifts even though they saw through the commercial façade, the custom of giving gifts on that day became more and more accepted. By 1937 the Father’s Day Council calculated that only one in six Father’s had received a present on that day. However, by the 1980s, the Council proclaimed they had achieved their goal as the one-day celebration had now evolved into a three-week commercial event that was like a ‘second Christmas’.
Thanks to Sonora, and her role in the Fathers Day Origins, today Father’s Day is a very popular celebration. Ever year people the world over thank their father and pay tribute to his ongoing love and support.
Most commonly families still spend quality time together. Most usually over dinner, at picnics or day trips. Children also gift their fathers with a wide range of presents. Neckties, grooming products and chocolate being amongst the most popular.
Fathers Day Origins
Now you have read about the Fathers Day Origins would you like to buy your dad a gift?
If you would then check out our range of Father’s Day gift ideas?
We ship bulk orders of Father’s Day gifts to any address in Australia. This includes all work and home addresses as well as PO Box addresses too.
Orders are sent via either Australia Post or Fastway Couriers. Both of these methods can be fully traced online 24/7 from our door to yours.
Also if the total cost of your order is over $150 we will ship it to you for free.