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Father's Day History 1910
Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, organizes the first Father's Day celebration on June 19, her own father's birthday. The mayor of Spokane and the governor of Washington state officially support the event. Dodd's father, a farmer and Civil War veteran, had been a single father to six young children after the death of his wife. 1924
President Calvin Coolidge publicly supports plans for a national Father's Day. 1926
The National Father's Day Committee meets for the first time in New York City. 1956
The observance of Father's Day is recognized by a Joint Resolution of Congress. 1966
President Lyndon Johnson proclaims Father's Day to be an official national holiday. 1972
President Richard Nixon signs into law a permanent U.S. Father's Day to be observed on the third Sunday of June. 1999
Father's Day is the fifth most popular card-sending holiday, with an estimated $95 million in card sales. Not just fathers but husbands, grandfathers, uncles, sons, and sons-in-law are among the honorees. 2001
Only days before Father's Day an estimated 53% of Americans do not know what they will buy for the holiday. If they are like last year's consumers, 60% will buy cards, while the most popular gifts will be apparel (41%), dinner (38%), sporting goods (22%), home improvement merchandise (18%), electronics (17%), and gardening tools (12%). 2004
In 2004, there were an estimated 98,000 "stay-at-home" dads. These are married fathers with children under 15 years old who have remained out of the labor force for more than one year primarily so they can care for the family while their wives work outside the home.
A Detailed History
of Father's Day
In the United States, the driving force behind the establishment of the celebration of Father's Day was Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd. Her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, as a single parent raised his six children in Spokane, Washington. She was inspired by Anna Jarvis's efforts to establish Mother's Day. Although she initially suggested June 5, the anniversary of her father's death, she did not provide the organizers with enough time to make arrangements, and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday in June. The first Father's Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, in Spokane, Washington.
It should be noted that Fairmont, West Virginia, not far from Anna Jarvis's home town of Grafton, claims to have held the first official remembrance two years earlier at Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church on July 5, 1908. Unofficial support from such figures as William Jennings Bryan was immediate and widespread. Woodrow Wilson was personally so feted by his family in 1916, and Calvin Coolidge recommended it as a national holiday in 1924. The all-male U.S. Congress, however, was mindful that passing a measure so favorable to males could be seen as a conflict of interest. In 1966, Lyndon Johnson made Father's Day a holiday to be celebrated on the third Sunday of June. The holiday was not officially recognized until the presidency of Richard Nixon in 1972.
Scholars believe that the origin of Father's Day is not a latest phenomenon, as many believe it to be. Rather they claim that the tradition of Father's Day can be traced in the ruins of Babylon. They have recorded that a young boy called Elmesu carved a Father's Day message on a card made out of clay nearly 4,000 years ago. Elmesu wished his Babylonian father good health and a long life. Though there is no record of what happened to Elmesu and his father but the tradition of celebrating Father's Day remained in several countries all over the world. History of Father's Day Festival as seen today is not even a hundred years old. Thanks to the hard work and struggle of Ms Sonora Louise Smart Dodd of Washington that just as we have set aside Mother's Day to honor mothers we have a day to acknowledge the important role played by the father. However, some scholars opine that Father's Day history is much older than we actually believe it to be. They say that the custom of honoring dad's on a special day is over 4,000 years old. There are a few more claims about the Father's Day origin about which we will learn in this page. Modern version of Father's Day celebration originated in United States of America and thereafter the tradition spread in countries around the world. The world owes thanks to Ms Sonora Louise Smart Dodd a loving daughter from Spokane, Washington as it is because of her struggle that Father's Day saw the light of the day.
The idea of Father's Day celebration originated in Sonora's mind when she per chance listened to Mother's Day sermon in 1909. Fairly mature at the age 27, Sonora pondered if there is a day to honor mother then why not for father? Sonora felt strongly for fathers because of the affection she received from her own father Mr William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran. Sonora's mother died while childbirth when she was just 16. Mr Smart raised the newborn and five other children with love and care. Inspired by Ms Anna Jarvis's struggle to promote Mother's Day, Ms Dodd began a rigorous campaign to celebrate Father's Day in US. The Spokane Ministerial Association and the local Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) supported Sonora's cause. As a result Spokane celebrated its first Father's Day on June 19, 1910. Though there was initial hesitation the idea gained gradual popularity all over US and Fathers Day came to be celebrated in cities across the country. Looking at the heightened popularity of Father's Day in US, President Woodrow Wilson approved of this idea in 1916. President Calvin Coolidge too supported the idea of a national Father's Day in 1924 to, "establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children and to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations". After a protracted struggle of over four decades, President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father's Day in 1966. Then in 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father's Day to be held on the third Sunday of June. Sonora Smart Dodd was honored for her contribution at the World's Fair in Spokane in 1974. Mrs. Dodd died in 1978, at age 96.
While many people believe that Father's Day is a holiday invented by the fine folks at Hallmark, it's not so. The celebration of Dad's special day can most likely be credited to Mrs. John B. Dodd, of Washington State, who first suggested the idea of the holiday in 1909. Mrs. Dodd's father, civil war veteran William Smart, was widowed when his wife died during childbirth with their sixth child. Despite the obvious hardships, Mr. Smart proceeded to raise the newborn along with his five other children, by himself. It wasn't until Sonora Dodd became an adult that she realized the strength and selflessness her father had shown in raising his children as a single parent. The original date chosen for the holiday was June 5, Mr. Smart's birthday, however the celebration was postponed until June 19, the third Sunday in June, because there was not enough time to prepare. At about the same time in various towns and cities across America other people were beginning to celebrate a Father's Day. Some accounts credit Mrs. Charles Clayton of West Virginia, as the founder of Father's Day, although most histories give credit to Mrs. Dodd. In early times, wearing flowers was a traditional way of celebrating Father's Day. Mrs. Dodd favored the red rose to honor a father still living, while a white flower honored a deceased dad. J.H. Berringer, who also held Father's Day celebrations in Washington State as early as 1912, chose a white lilac as the Father's Day Flower. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of a national Father's Day, but it never became official until 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson signed the presidential proclamation that set aside the 3rd Sunday of June as Father's Day.
Other Theories about the Origin of
the Father's Day :
There are several theories behind the
origination of Father's Day...
* Some believe that the first Fathers Day church service was held in West Virginia in 1908.
* Others opine that the ceremony was first held in Vancouver, Washington.
* The president of Lions' Club, Chicago, Harry Meek is said to have celebrated the first Father's Day with his organization in 1915 to stress on the need to honor fathers. He selected third Sunday in June for celebration, the closest date to Meek's own birthday. In appreciation for Meek's work, the Lions Clubs of America presented him with a gold watch, with the inscription "Originator of Father's Day," on his birthday, June 20, 1920.
* Some historians honor Mrs. Charles Clayton of West Virginia, as the Founder of Father's Day.
* In 1957, Senator Margaret Chase Smith wrote Congress that, "Either we honor both our parents, mother and father, or let us desist from honoring either one. But to single out just one of our two parents and omit the other is the most grievous insult imaginable."
* In countries where Catholic Church holds greater influence Father's Day is celebrated on St. Joseph's Day (March 19).
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