The History of Father's Day

Dads like quality time on Father's DayDads like quality time on Father's Day Many of us have grown up celebrating Father's Day: giving Dad a card, making him breakfast or creating something handmade in school. But when did all this start? Let's look at the invention story of Father's Day.

There are a few stories about the invention of Father's Day. History's first known Father's Day celebration took place in West Virginia on July 5, 1908. It is said that a woman named Grace Golden Clayton suggested the celebration to honour men killed in a recent explosion in the area.

However, the prevailing story of the day's popularity in the United States lies with a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd. In 1909, Ms. Dodd was listening to a sermon about Mother's Day when she became inspired by her father. William Smart was a veteran of the Civil War, and became a widower when his wife died in childbirth. Mr. Smart took over the care of his six children, raising them by himself on the eastern Washington farm where they lived.

Son and father playingSon and father playing On that day in 1909, Ms. Dodd realized how hard her father must have worked as a single parent of six children, sacrificing many things so she and her siblings could have a good life. She decided that she would hold a Father's Day celebration in Spokane to honour not only her own father, but every father in history.

This ceremonial invention slowly grew into a nationwide event. In 1924, President Coolidge offered his support for a national Father's Day holiday. In 1966, President Johnson declared the third Sunday in June to be celebrated as Father's Day. It was President Nixon that made Sonora Smart Dodd's invention a permanent fixture nationwide.

Today, this invention honours fathers around the world. Countries such as Lithuania, Denmark, El Salvador and Guatemala observe Father's Day in June. Dozens of countries celebrate the day on the third Sunday in June specifically, including Mexico, Malta, Ireland, Greece, Hong Kong, Bangladesh and Turkey. In places like Finland, Estonia, Norway and Sweden, Father's Day is celebrated in November. Even these few examples illustrate that Ms. Dodd's invention has taken on a global importance to dads and families.

History of Father's Day References: