Father’s Day is an endearing day and one we hope all dads enjoy and celebrate with family. It’s a holiday that you may wonder how it started. It takes place on the third Sunday of each June and often it is a chance for a family to get father’s special gifts and cards and a chance to spend time with them at home or out on the town. Younger children will often make a homemade gift at school or in extracurricular clubs.
The structure of families has changed in society over the years and now some families will have a stepfather they celebrate with on this special day. Some have even suggested there should be step father’s day but the government has not yet embraced that idea. The holiday that we do have is one that you may wonder about its origins and exactly how it got started and why we celebrate it.
This day began in the US shortly after Mother’s Day was first observed in 1908. A social activist named Anna Jarvis petitioned the government to set aside a special day that honors mother’s in America. After her mother died she dedicated her life to have this become an official day. Originally the Congress rejected the idea making it a national holiday but within a few years most people throughout the US we’re celebrating it anyway.
Grace Golden Clayton, a resident of Fairmont West Virginia, was the first person to celebrate Father’s Day and she did so in 1908. She went to her Pastor and told him that fathers should also be honored similar to the way another West Virginian had started the movement of celebrating Mother’s Day. A mining disaster in the city had killed 360 men of which 210 were fathers. Grace Clayton felt that the children needed a way to remember their fathers.
She asked that the holiday be celebrated on a Sunday which was closest to her own father’s birthday in an effort to honor him. Father’s day was successfully celebrated in the small town of West Virginia but it wasn’t promoted outside of the city because it was so close to Independence Day. The following year, however, a woman from Washington went to her pastor saying that fathers should be honored similarly to mothers.
Sonora Smart Dodd was raised by a father who was single and a veteran of the Civil War. Her mother had died giving childbirth. The YMCA in Spokane held the first Father’s Day in 1910 and many cities across the U.S. took up this celebration afterward. It wasn’t long before everyone was embracing the idea of celebrating fathers day and because of this, President Calvin Coolidge used his position to put pressure on state governments to make it an official celebration.
President Lyndon Johnson made the first proclamation by a President that Father’s Day should be honored and that took place in 1966. The third Sunday of June was then made Father’s Day. A few years later President Nixon made it official by signing it into law. It made Father’s Day a national holiday. But it did not hold the same status in the UK.
There were several public figures that pushed this campaign and one of them was Senator Margaret Chase Smith. In fact, she wrote Congress in 1957. She suggested that we should honor both our mother and father or we shouldn’t honor either one of them.
In fact, she went on to say that to honor one without doing the same for the other was insulting and unimaginable. It is believed that Father’s Day was adopted as an official celebration sometime after the Second World War. This was a holiday that started because one woman wanted to acknowledge the appreciation of fathers who were lost in a mining disaster but it now is celebrated in many parts of the world simply to honor and celebrate Father’s.