The Origins Of Father's Day

Posted on 15th June 2016

Father’s Day is traditionally celebrated on the 3rd Sunday of June, and this year falls on June 19. This special day honours dads, stepdads, grandfathers and other father figures, and usually includes the giving of cards and gifts, and a special family event or outing.

Historical Connections. There are some beliefs that claim that Father's Day origins hail back to the time of traditional pagan sun worship. This may be because the Sun is considered to be the Father of the Universe. As the summer solstice is also celebrated around the time of Father’s Day, in June, there may be some truth in this seasonal connection. More commonly, Father’s Day origins are associated with a lady from Washington, called Sonora Smart Dodd, who introduced the celebration to Americans as a complement to the annual American Mother's Day celebrations. This celebration of fatherhood dates back to 1910, in the USA, and eventually motivated the people of the United Kingdom to create their own version of the honorary custom. Ms Smart was inspired to honour fathers because her mother had died in childbirth, when she was 16. Her Civil War veteran father was left to raise a new-born along with five other children on his own. 

Although there was some hesitation to commemorate fatherhood in this celebratory manner, the first ever Father's Day was held on June 19, 1910. The idea gradually grew in popularity and was soon celebrated all over the USA. Some scholars believe that the tradition of Father's Day can in fact be traced back to the ruins of Babylon. They believe that a young boy called Elmesu, was the first person to create a Father’s Day message. Around 4,000 years ago, the boy carved an inscription on a card made of clay. The message wishes good health and a long life.

Modern Times. Many people make a special effort to spend some quality time with their father on Father's Day. It’s not uncommon to present your dad with a typical masculine gift of socks, slippers, underwear, or other items of clothing, as a thoughtful Father’s Day gift. Manly garden or home maintenance tools or a bottle of his favourite alcoholic drink are other popular gift ideas. Young children and teenagers particularly love to award their dad with novelty gifts like a mug, t-shirt or keyring, that proudly proclaims "The World's Greatest Dad". Some families like to celebrate Father's Day by planning a special traditional roast dinner lunch, and an event or outing that makes dad the centre of attention. Popular Father's Day gift experiences include rally car driving, a ride in a tank or glider, and sporting themed activities. Dads are also likely to enjoy a few pints of lager or ale on Father’s Day. A spiritual or psychic reading makes a great alternative Father’s Day gift, for open minded and spiritually aware Dads. Men typically don’t like to discuss emotional issues that may be troubling them, so a gift reading is a positive opportunity to explore thoughts and feelings in a safe and confidential environment.

Worldwide Traditions. Father's Day is now a popular secular celebration in many parts of the world. People in Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, New Zealand and Australia pay tribute to their fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers and father figures in a traditional customary way every year.        


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