How Father’s Day Began

How Father's Day Began

( – Every year families get to set aside a special day just to show our father’s gratitude and appreciation. But have you ever wondered how this particular day even came about? We hope to answer that question and more.

The Origin of Father’s Day

The very first Father’s Day took place June 19th, 1910, in the state of Washington. It wasn’t officially recognized until 58 years after President Woodrow Wilson made Mother’s Day official. This move marked the first official Father’s Day in 1972, and the day became a national holiday. It drew much of its inspiration from Mother’s Day, although Father’s Day wasn’t met with the same level of enthusiasm, which some people believed was due to fathers having less of a sentimental appeal.

A church in West Virginia sponsored the first event, exclusively in honor of fathers, at the national level: the one-time commemoration was a Sunday sermon remembering the 362 men who’d died in a coal mine explosion that previous December.

The following year a woman, Sonora Smart Dodd from Spokane, WA, set out to create an equivalent holiday to Mother’s Day for males. After campaigning in local churches and at the YMCA, she eventually got enough support, and Washington State celebrated a statewide Father’s Day, a national first.

Disdain and Dismay

Many men disliked the notion of “domesticating masculinity” with flowers and the giving of gifts. Others disregarded the holiday as a commercial ploy to sell more products, often at the expense of the father receiving the gift. The 1920s and 30s saw a movement to get rid of both Mother’s and Father’s Day in favor of a single Parent’s Day.

The Great Depression put an end to this effort and instead pushed retailers to make Father’s Day a “second Christmas.” After World War II broke out, Father’s Day was seen as a way to support and honor the troops as well as boost the war effort. Yet, even at the end of the war, Father’s Day did not become a national holiday.

Becoming Official

In 1972, during a heated campaign for reelection for President of the United States, President Richard Nixon signed a proclamation that deemed Father’s Day a national holiday. Finally, at last, Father’s Day was official. Modern-day Father’s Day is estimated to bring in more than $1 billion every year from gift revenue. The day, as with anything, simply started out as an idea and through the years has grown into what it is today.

People have become much more accepting of the day than when it first began. Although the push for the banishment of Father’s and Mother’s Day has yet to end completely, we can only hope that the two days remain their own holidays and mothers and fathers around the world each can have their own day.

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