Fathers’ Day is a celebration for fathers and fatherly figures everywhere. On this day people often give gifts and outings to their father figures to thank them for everything they’ve done. It is celebrated in many countries around the world.
The United States celebrates it on the third Sunday of June. While many countries have adopted the U.S. date, some celebrate father's day on March 19 (St. Josephs Day) observing the feast day of Saint Joseph, a custom dating from the 15th century. There are other dates established by individual countries or regions.
History of Father's Day
Some historians believe the roots of Father’s Day lies back in the Old Babylonian times, which is around 4,000 years ago. These historians believe there was a lad named Elmesu that wanted to honor his father, so he created a message for good health and a long life. If this message is true, then it is actually the oldest card for Father’s Day, even if it isn’t as goofy or sentimental as cards we see nowadays.
Father’s Day spread tp English-speaking countries long before it arrived in France. The traditions and customs known today most likely originated in the United States of America over a hundred years ago. There are many stories that talk about the origin of the customs known today, but the main one is about a woman named Grace Clayton. She had lost her father about twenty years prior to when she heard about a large mining accident that had 310 deaths, which a sad number of 200 were actually fathers and this left about a thousand orphans behind. Mrs. Clayton was so distraught by this tragedy that she, with the help of Reverend Thomas Webb, held a ceremony to honor the miners, as well as the families left behind. Mrs. Clayton wished to hold the ceremony in June of 1908 because her father’s birthday was in June and she wanted some way to honor him as well.
The story of Mrs. Grace Clayton is the first record of Father’s Day in the U.S., but there are a couple more stories. Harry Meek, the President of the Lions Club of Chicago during the 1910s, wanted to honor all the fathers in his organization back in 1915. His celebration happened on the third Sunday of June because he wanted it close to his own birthday. Mr. Meek ended up being honored by the Lions Club of America in 1920 and was given a gold watch, which had the inscription: “Originator of Father’s Day”. The last story that is most commonly known is about a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd. She had been listening to a Mother’s Day sermon and had the brilliant idea of creating a day that would celebrate fathers. Her father was a Civil War Veteran that was single father raising her and her five siblings, so she truly wanted to find a way to honor him. She planned a Father’s Day celebration on June 19th, 1910, in Spokane (her hometown) and she picked that date as it was close to her father’s birthday, which was in the middle of June.
While all three stories show how individual areas created their own Father’s Day, it wasn’t until 1972 that Father’s Day became an actual holiday in the U.S. to be celebrated on the third Sunday of every June.