Most of us have a general understanding of what Father’s Day is. Like its counterpart, Mother’s Day, we know it to be a day set aside once a year to celebrate a special parent. In this case, Dad. To let him know he is loved and appreciated. We might take Dad out to lunch or plan a barbeque outing in his honor. Maybe we get him a thoughtful gift or send him a funny card with a corresponding phone call to catch up. While we all celebrate our fathers differently, those are the things most of us know about the holiday. But there is so much more.
The origins of Father’s Day go back over 100 years to the year 1910. Mother’s Day had been celebrated for the first time 3 years previously. A woman in Spokane, Washington, Sonora Smart Dodd, began to campaign for an equivalent holiday to honor fathers. She was inspired after hearing a church sermon about the newly recognized Mother’s Day and desired something comparable for fathers. Dodd was motivated by the closeness she shared with her father, a sergeant during the Civil War.
After Dodd began making her case to many businesses, social groups and local and state government representatives, the state of Washington celebrated the very first Father’s Day on June 19, 1910. Although, in its first iteration, it was spelled “Fathers’ Day.” This was eventually changed to the spelling we know today.
Slowly but surely, the popularity of Father’s Day spread throughout the United States, but it would take a very long time until this celebration of fathers and fatherhood would become a nationally recognized holiday. President Richard Nixon did not sign it into law until 1972, ensuring that Father’s Day would be recognized each year on the third Sunday in June. This was long after Mother’s Day was granted its official holiday status in 1914.
But the United States is not the only country that honors fathers annually. Father’s Day is recognized in Canada and the United Kingdom on the same day as the U.S., as well as countries like South Africa, Mexico, Greece, India, Pakistan and Singapore. Australia and New Zealand recognize Father’s Day as well, but it is held on the first Sunday in September. Brazil honors its dads on the second Sunday of August. And Thailand holds its Father’s Day celebrations on December 5, corresponding to the birthday of its country’s king.
So how much of that did you already know? Hopefully, our brief origin and history of Father’s Day was an interesting read. But what about ways to honor fathers right here and now? Well, Father’s Day 2021 is on Sunday, June 20. So, if you’re still looking for a way to surprise your dad and make him feel special, The Bradford Exchange has some amazing gifts to choose from. Happy shopping and Happy Father’s Day from all of us.What Is Father's Day? Its Origin, History, and Celebrations by The Bradford Exchange