Father’s Day is a celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society.
Let’s find out fun facts about it!
1. In Catholic Europe, it has been celebrated on March 19 (St. Joseph’s Day) since the Middle Ages.
2. This celebration was brought by the Spanish and Portuguese to Latin America, where March 19 is often still used for it, though many countries in Europe and the Americas have adopted the U.S. date, which is the third Sunday of June.
3. It is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, most commonly in the months of March or May. It complements similar celebrations honoring family members, such as Mother’s Day, Siblings Day and Grandparents Day.
4. A customary day for the celebration of fatherhood in Catholic Europe is known to date back to at least the Middle Ages, and it is observed on 19 March, as the feast day of Saint Joseph, who is referred to as the fatherly Nutritor Domini (“Nourisher of the Lord”) in Catholicism and “the putative father of Jesus” in southern European tradition.
5. This celebration was brought to the Americans by the Spanish and Portuguese, and in Latin America, Father’s Day is still celebrated on 19 March.
6. The Catholic church actively supported the custom of a celebration of fatherhood on St. Joseph’s day from either the last years of the 14th century or from the early 15th century, apparently on the initiative of the Franciscans.
7. In the Coptic Church, the celebration of fatherhood is also observed on St Joseph’s Day, but the Copts observe this celebration on July 20. This Coptic celebration may date back to the fifth century.
8. Father’s Day was not celebrated in the US, outside Catholic traditions, until the 20th century.
9. As a civic celebration in the US, it was inaugurated in the early 20th century to complement Mother’s Day by celebrating fathers and male parenting.
10. After Anna Jarvis’ successful promotion of Mother’s Day in Grafton, West Virginia, the first observance of a “Father’s Day” was held on July 5, 1908, in Fairmont, West Virginia, in the Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South, now known as Central United Methodist Church.
11. Grace Golden Clayton was mourning the loss of her father, when in December 1907, the Monongah Mining Disaster in nearby Monongah killed 361 men, 250 of them fathers, leaving around a thousand fatherless children. Clayton suggested that her pastor Robert Thomas Webb honor all those fathers.
12. Clayton’s event did not have repercussions outside Fairmont for several reasons, among them: the city was overwhelmed by other events, the celebration was never promoted outside the town itself and no proclamation of it was made by the city council.
13. Finally, Clayton was a quiet person, who never promoted the event and never talked to other persons about it.
14. In 1911, Jane Addams proposed that a citywide Father’s Day celebration be held in Chicago, but she was turned down.
15. In 1912, there was a Father’s Day celebration in Vancouver, Washington, suggested by Methodist pastor J. J. Berringer of the Irvington Methodist Church. They mistakenly believed that they had been the first to celebrate such a day. They followed a 1911 suggestion by the Portland Oregonian.
16. Harry C. Meek, a member of Lions Clubs International, claimed that he had first come up with the idea for Father’s Day in 1915.
17. On June 19, 1910, a Father’s Day celebration was held at the YMCA in Spokane, Washington by Sonora Smart Dodd.
18. Several local clergymen accepted the idea, and on June 19, 1910, the first Father’s Day, “sermons honoring fathers were presented throughout the city”.
19. However, in the 1920s, Dodd stopped promoting the celebration because she was studying at the Art Institute of Chicago, and it faded into relative obscurity, even in Spokane.
20. In the 1930s, Dodd returned to Spokane and started promoting the celebration again, raising awareness at a national level.
21. She had the help of those trade groups that would benefit most from the holiday, for example the manufacturers of ties, tobacco pipes, and any traditional present for fathers.
22. By 1938, she had the help of the Father’s Day Council, founded by the New York Associated Men’s Wear Retailers to consolidate and systematize the holiday’s commercial promotion.
23. By the mid-1980s, the Father’s Day Council wrote, “(…) [Father’s Day] has become a Second Christmas for all the men’s gift-oriented industries.”
24. A bill to accord national recognition of the holiday was introduced in Congress in 1913.
25. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson went to Spokane to speak at a Father’s Day celebration and he wanted to make it an officially recognized federal holiday, but Congress resisted, fearing that it would become commercialized
26. In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day.
27. Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972.