History of Father’s Day

Father’s Day has been around and actively celebrated for almost 100 years. Isn’t it time you got know the history of Fathers Day?

First Fathers Day
Although other people throughout the United States had suggested a day to honor fathers, it is Sonora Smart Dodd from Spokane, Washington who is usually credited with getting the ball rolling. Sonora was inspired to create a special day for her father after attending a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. Sonora’s father, William Smart, had raised Sonora and her five siblings after their mother died during childbirth. Now an adult, Sonora had come to realize just how hard her father had worked and how selfless he had been to raise six children on his own.

In 1910, Sonora had planned to celebrate Father’s Day on her Father’s birthday, June 5th. However, when she realized that she did not have enough time to prepare for the celebrations, the day was postponed until June 19th. It wasn’t long before other states picked up on the idea to have a special day for dad. Like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day even got its own official flower: the rose. Red roses are traditionally given to fathers who are still alive, while children whose fathers have died wear white roses.

When is Fathers Day?
By 1924, Father’s Day had become so popular, President Coolidge voiced his support of having a national Father’s Day. Unfortunately, he never took action to make the day official. In 1966, President Johnson made a presidential proclamation that, throughout the country, the third Sunday in June would be Father’s Day. However, this proclamation was only good for a year. Finally, in 1972, President Nixon took the initiative to officially make the third Sunday in June Father’s Day.

The United States is not the only country to celebrate Father’s Day. Canada and the United Kingdom also celebrate Father’s Day on the third Sunday of every June. In Australia, Father’s Day occurs on the first Sunday in September. Some Catholics may also refer to March 19th as Father’s Day. March 19th is actually St. Joseph’s Day but, since Joseph was the father of Jesus, the date has taken on the alternate name.

Fun Father’s Day Facts
Here's some Fathers Day trivia. According to the U.S. Census Bureau:

  • Neck ties are the number one gift for Father’s Day
  • In 2001, there were 25.8 million married dads with children under the age of 18 and 2 million single fathers with children under the age of 18
  • In 2002, there was an estimated 105,000 full-time, stay-at-home dads caring for at least one child under the age of 15
  • Two million preschoolers are looked after primarily by their fathers while their mothers are at work.

Happy Father's Day!