Most of us are lucky enough to have a wonderful Dad whom we love and cherish, and every June we look forward to spoiling him and showing him that although we might take him for granted
we really do appreciate all he does for us. This day is all about letting our Dad’s know this and making the day special for him. However, like most traditions, not many of us will have
actually ever considered just how this day came to be an official celebration throughout the world.
There are many different versions and theories as to the origins of this day but what is known is that we do have proof that about 4,000 years ago a young boy named Elmusu carved a
Father's Day message on a card made out of clay, wishing his Babylonian father good health and a long life. No one knows what happened to the boy Elmesu or his father, but somehow, the
tradition of having a special day in honour of our fathers has continued through the years in many countries across the world.
Another well- known story is that of a young lady called Sonora Smart Dodd from Washington. The story goes that she first had the idea of a "father's day" in 1909 while listening to a
sermon on Mother's Day.
Sonora felt that she needed a special day to honour her father, William Smart. Smart was a Civil War veteran who had been widowed when his wife died while giving birth to their sixth
child. Mr Smart was then left to raise the new-born baby as well as his other five children by himself on his farm in eastern Washington.
Once Sonora became an adult she fully appreciated the selflessness her father had shown in raising his children alone. He that made many sacrifices and was, in his daughter’s eyes,
courageous, selfless, and loving. As Sonora's father was born in June, she chose to celebrate the first Father's Day in his honour in Spokane, Washington on the 19th of June, 1910.
A third theory claims that a lady called Mrs Grace Clayton was in fact the person who began it all. The story goes that she felt an enormous sadness and compassion after hearing of a
terrible mining accident in Monongah, West Virginia on December 6th, 1907. In total, 306 men were killed and out of these, 210 of them were fathers which left a thousand children
fatherless. This made such an impression on Mrs Clayton that she was impelled to state that:
"It was partly the explosion that got me to thinking how important and loved most fathers are. All those lonely children and those heart-broken wives and mothers, made orphans and
widows in a matter of a few minutes. Oh, how sad and frightening to have no father, no husband, to turn to at such an awful time."
Mrs. Clayton subsequently asked her pastor, one Reverend Robert Thomas Webb to hold a service to honour all fathers at his church; Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
Her father, Rev. Fletcher Golden, a Methodist minister, had died in 1896, and she still missed him and his fatherly guidance. She suggested the Sunday closest to his birthday, July 8th.
In 1908 the Sunday closest was July 5 and that day was chosen.
Yet another theory is that Harry Meek, the President of the Lion’s Club in Chicago, is said to have celebrated the first Father's Day with his organization in 1915 to stress the need
to honour fathers. He chose the third Sunday in June for this celebration, as this was the closest date to his own birthday. In appreciation for Meek's work, the Lions Clubs of America
presented him with a gold watch on his birthday: June 20, 1920, with the inscription "Originator of Father's Day,"
Later in 1924, the then President, Calvin Coolidge, became a supporter of the idea of a national Father's Day. Finally, in 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential
proclamation declaring that the 3rd Sunday of June would be celebrated as Father's Day. President Richard Nixon signed the law in 1972 which finally made it a permanent, annual
In some countries, where the Catholic Church had a greater influence on that society’s culture, Father's Day was traditionally celebrated on St. Joseph's Day on March 19. However in
recent times, a more secular celebration, disassociated from any particular religion, is followed in line with our increased cultural diversity.
Father's Day has become amazingly popular over the years and is celebrated not just in the US but in a large number of other countries around the world including Argentina,
Australia, Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Norway and India, although not always on the same date.
In France, La Fete des Pères was launched by a lighter company Flaminaire before being formalized in 1952 and is now celebrated on the third Sunday of June as in the UK. Father’s day
is a family occasion where family and friends are invited for a meal to honour the father and usually the Grandfather too. Fathers are pampered and presented with gifts and made to feel
like a King at least for the day.
Children in Canada express affection and honour their dad by presenting him with cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts. Another thoughtful trend concerning Father’s Day customs
in Canada is that apart from greeting their actual father, people also wish “Happy Father's Day” to their grandfathers, stepfathers, foster father, uncles or any other man who is as
affectionate and loving towards them as a father.
Another little known fact is that roses are the traditional Father's Day flowers with a red rose symbolising a living father and a white rose showing that the father has died.