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Why do we celebrate Fathers Day

Father's Day, Mother's Day and Grandparents' Day, have you ever wondered where all these celebrations have appeared from? I can understand why we celebrate the occasions such as, Christmas, weddings, engagements and birthdays, but why and when did these days to celebrate and honour specific people come from? Let's find out!

In the UK, as well as in another 51 countries around the globe including USA, Canada and Argentina, Father's Day is celebrated on the third Sunday in June every year. It is also celebrated in other countries, but on various other days throughout the year. For example, in Pakistan and Iran they celebrate Father's Day on 13th Rajab according to the Islamic Calendar (which has 355 days in its year) , and in Luxembourg Father's Day is honoured on the first Sunday in October.

It is believed that the first time Father's Day was celebrated was on June 19th, 1910 after a woman, named Sonora Smart Dodd from Washington, USA felt that it was only right that there was a day of celebration dedicated to fathers, such as her own whilst listening to a Mother's Day sermon at the Central Methodist Episcopal Church in Spokane. Sonora's dad was a Civil War veteran, who had devoted his life to bringing up his children after his wife died during childbirth of their 6th child.

In 1909, Sonora enlisted the help of the Spokane Ministerial Association and young members of the YMCA - they went to church wearing roses; a red rose in order to honour a living father and a white rose for a deceased father. It is said that on June 19th 1910, Dodd travelled through Washington in a carriage, bringing gifts to fathers, who were unable to get out. It took many years for this celebration to become official, despite the continued support of the YWCA (Young Women's Christmas Association), the church, and the YMCA (Young Males Christian Association) it ran the risk of not being included in the calendar. It appeared that in society, although Mother's Day had been met with passion, Father's Day had been met with amusement in USA. This led the holiday to gather attention slowly, but for completely the wrong reasons; it was the target of much satire, parody and derision, including jokes from the local newspaper Spokesman Review. Many people saw it as the first step in filling the calendar year with pointless endorsements, such as Grandparents' Day, Professional Secretaries Day and other such futile promotions.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson went to Spokane to take part in a Father's Day celebration in order to help make the day official. However, US Congress resisted this, fearing that it would be turned into a commercialized holiday. However, 8 years later, President Calvin Coolidge acknowledged the requirement to have an official Father's Day and recommended once again that the day devoted to dads should be held; this was still met with disapprovement, and so in the 1930s trade groups were created in order to legitimise the holiday. So, in 1957 Margaret Chase Smith, a Maine Senator wrote a proposal condemning the US congress of disregarding fathers for over 40 years, whilst only devoting a day to mothers, thus "[singling] out just one of our own parents". It was not until1966, when President Lyndon Johnson made a public statement for the third Sunday of June to be known as Father's Day, however, it wasn't until 1972, when President Nixon made the proclamation that it was made official.

From this, we can see that Father's Day took a complete 62 years from the idea in one young lady's mind to becoming a National holiday in the USA and throughout the world.
Date posted: 25/03/2010


 
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