The Birth of Father’s Day

You’re probably celebrating Father’s Day right now as a father or with your father, but do you know the true origin of the holiday?

You can learn everything about Father’s Day here.

In 2018, when is Father’s Day held?

Each year, the third Sunday in June is reserved for Father’s Day. The Sunday where Father’s Day will be held in the UK is June 17.

On Father’s Day, fathers often spend time playing with their babies, celebrating with their families and are given cards and gifts by their loved ones. Extracurricular clubs and schools usually have kids make cards and small, simple gifts to give to their fathers. Stepfathers have even been celebrated on Father’s Day in more modern times because of the change in family dynamics. Some people have suggested that a special day for stepfathers be created, but it hasn’t happened in any official capacity.

Why is Father’s Day actually celebrated?

It’s because of the US that Father’s Day is celebrated, with the holiday following the 1908 celebration of the first Mother’s Day in the US. Because of the death of her mother in 1905, Anna Jarvis, a social activist in America, went to the government and petition for a holiday to be made to honour mothers across the country. She was met with an initial rejection from the US Congress in 1908, but three years later, people started celebrating the holiday in every state.

The first celebration of Father’s day

The first celebration of Father’s day happened in 1908 on July 5, thanks to Grace Golden Clayton of Fairmont, West Virginia. She was inspired by the campaign that Jarvis had created, along with a mining disaster that happened in 1907, and wanted to have fathers everywhere honoured. The disaster, which happened in Monogah, resulted in the death of 360 men, 210 of whom were fathers. Clayton thought that this was a perfect time for children to remember the fathers that had been lost from the incident.

In 1896, Grace’s own father, who was a Methodist minister, had died. July 8 was the Sunday closest to his birthday, so she chose this day to honour him, in a similar fashion to what Anna Jarvis did. Although this day of remembrance was held, no one outside of Fairmont knew about it and it was overshadowed by the July 4 celebration of Independence Day. The following year, the event gained traction as the word about Mother’s Day began to spread and people started spending the day celebrating by going on days out or visiting bathroom showrooms in Surrey to spend time together. Sonora Smart Dodd, a resident from Washington, was able to convince her pastor to honour fathers in 1909. Dodd’s own mother had passed away during childbirth, so she was raised by her father, who was a single parent and veteran of the civil war. As such, Father’s Day was first held in 1910 in Spokane at a YMCA, and after that, the holiday spread to cities across America.

The Official Proclamation of the Holiday

US cities supported the day in great numbers, and in 1924, the president at the time, Calvin Coolidge, used his influence to get governments in every state to celebrate the holiday. The holiday was made official through a proclamation by President Lyndon Johnson in 1966, making the third Sunday an official day for the holiday. President Richard Nixon signed the holiday into law six years after that, but it still wasn’t a national holiday in the UK by this point. It wasn’t until Margaret Chase Smith, who was a Senator at the time, made a public movement to get fathers honoured by writing a letter to Congress. She wanted to have both parents honoured by a holiday or to have neither of them honoured at all.

After World War II, the UK was believed to have started adopting Father’s Day. Although the day started as a simple day to honour a lost father, everyone around the world can be honoured by the holiday known as Father’s Day and celebrate it with their children and family.