Why Do We Celebrate Father's Day? Here's How This Dad-Inspired Day Became Recognized
While we should be throwing love, flowers, and brunches at our mom constantly, her official "day" has just ended — and now, it's time to celebrate our dads, who also helped shape us into such well rounded individuals. The reason why we celebrate Father's Day isn't necessarily just because we felt bad giving Mom sole credit. But, that was kinda-sorta the inspiration as to why this holiday got started.
Like most holidays, there was an inkling of tradition way back when, in the the ruins of Babylon. It's been said that a young boy named Elmesu carved a card out of clay for his father to show his appreciation, but records of this, as well as whether or not the celebration was an annual event, are tough to find.
It was in the modern times when the holiday truly found its voice. A woman named Sonora Louise Smart Dodd from Spokane, Washington, was listening to a Mother's Day sermon back in 1909 and realized that fathers should get their own holiday as well. Her relationship with her own father, William Jackson Smart, was definitely a strong one — Smart had two wives pass away in his life, the last during childbirth. After his wife's death in 1891, Smart was solely responsible for nine children, including stepchildren. While they varied in age, and some were capable of caring for themselves, he managed to make everything work. In other words, Smart was pretty much super-dad, and Sonora was charmed by his ability to put family first.
Sonora campaigned hard, and got a lot of support, notably from the The Spokane Ministerial Association and the YMCA, and celebrated her very first Father's Day in 1910. From there, President Woodrow Wilson approved a bill to establish a set Father's Day in 1913, and in 1924, President Calvin Coolidge helped make this day the third Sunday in June — originally, it was set as June 5, since that was Smart's birthday (although a few other records have it listed as June 15). In Coolidge's words, he felt the holiday was important to "establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children and to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations." President Richard Nixon officially established the observance in 1972. Seems like many presidents throughout the years believed that Father's Day was a pretty amazing idea.
Smart was able to see his holiday in full swing before he passed away in 1919 at the age of 77, and he'd be happy to know that fathers are still getting acknowledgement to this day. The day is especially big in Spokane, the "Birthplace of Father's Day." Sonora's house on Arthur Street has been marked as a historic landmark, and she's been credited for helping put Spokane on the map. In 2010, they even held a Centennial Celebration, as Father's Day was officially 100 years old.
While the holiday remains to be on the third Sunday of every June in the U.S., other countries have their own days that they've celebrated on. In Australia, the holiday is on the first Sunday in September, and Denmark and Finland designated the second Sunday in November to recognize their dads. All in all, over 50 countries worldwide have an annual date set to celebrate.
Good ways to celebrate include buying gifts, visiting, and spending time with the man in your life. Obviously the holiday isn't just for fathers, but father-figures as well. It's the perfect chance to take your dad out to dinner, and let him know how much his wisdom and guidance have shaped you throughout the years. Being a father can be a tough job, and it's important to remember that even a sentimental card will help show him how much you appreciate him.
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