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The history of Father’s Day

Seasonal: Father’s Day
By Donovan Darling, Staff Writer

Father’s Day will be celebrated on June 16 this year. Father’s Day, a holiday celebrated around the world, is a day dedicated to honoring fathers and father figures.

The origins of Father’s Day can be traced back to the early 20th century in the United States. The holiday’s establishment is often credited to Sonora Smart Dodd, who was inspired by the newly recognized Mother’s Day. Sonora, the daughter of a Civil War veteran and single father, William Jackson Smart, wanted to honor her father’s selfless service in the war. So in 1909 she proposed the idea of Father’s Day to local ministers in Spokane, Washington, to be celebrated on June 5, her father’s birthday. However, there wasn’t enough time to prepare for the holiday that year, so the first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910.

Father’s Day gradually gained popularity, with several attempts made to establish it as a national holiday. It wasn’t until 1972 that President Richard Nixon officially recognized Father’s Day as a national holiday in the United States, to be celebrated on the third Sunday of June each year.

Throughout its history, Father’s Day underwent several transformations due to cultural, social and economic factors. Initially, it was celebrated with the simple gestures of wearing a red rose to honor a living father and a white rose to honor a deceased father. Greeting cards, often accompanied by gifts and family gatherings, became increasingly popular as the holiday became more mainstream and commercial.

In the mid-20th century, the roles of fatherhood began to shift, with an increasing emphasis on fathers being more involved in raising the children and doing more things around the house. This social shift could be seen in how people viewed Father’s Day as a celebration, not only of paternal authority but also of paternal love, care and nurturing.

Around the world, Father’s Day has different origins and traditions. In many countries, it’s celebrated on different dates and with varying traditions. For example, in Catholic countries like Spain and Portugal, Father’s Day is celebrated on March 19, coinciding with the Feast of St. Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus Christ. In Germany, Father’s Day, known as “Vatertag,” is celebrated on Ascension Day, with traditions that include men going on hiking trips and pulling wagons filled with beer.

Today, Father’s Day is celebrated worldwide with a variety of traditions, ranging from simple acts of appreciation to elaborate family gatherings, gift-giving and beer-filled wagons (yes, please!). While its commercialization is often criticized, Father’s Day remains an important holiday for expressing gratitude and love for fathers and father figures, honoring their contributions to family and society as a whole.

As a father myself, I wish you and your families a “Happy Father’s Day!” this June.