A Short History of Father's Day
Father’s Day is one of those holidays that seems like it has no beginning; it’s always just there to celebrate. The first Father’s Day can be traced back to 1909, when a young woman by the name of Sonora Dodd was listening to a sermon during Mother’s Day. It struck her as very strange that fathers weren’t celebrated in the same way as mothers.
Sonora began to think about all the wonderful things that her father did for her. When her mother died, her father was the one who took care of her - fed her, dressed her, taught her and protected her. To Sonora and her siblings, “Father” was the name of a guardian and a role model. Really, she didn’t know how she could have lived such a happy life without her father. It didn’t take too long for her to decide that since mothers get their own day, people who were as caring fathers as hers deserved their own day as well. After explaining her views to her siblings, they agreed to celebrate the world’s first Father’s Day.
Father’s Day became a goal for Sonora, who wanted the world to know that although mothers are a crucial part to any family, the role of a father needed to be celebrated as well. 1910 marked the year that she began to ask for it to be an official holiday. She expected the public to embrace the new holiday with open arms, but boy was she surprised!
Instead of agreeing to celebrate fatherhood as equally important as motherhood, as one would normally expect, the notion was met with insults, laughter, and mockery by the mainstream population. However, the notoriety for the holiday became its best weapon against mockery, and by 1913, it was a recognized holiday, although not an official one. More and more, children began to honor their fathers as well as their mothers, making the holiday more popular throughout the country.
It didn’t take too long for the popularity of Father’s Day to reach political and celebrity levels. Several presidents, including Woodrow Wilson and Calvin Coolidge promoted the idea of Father’s Day. By 1924, a Father’s day council was established in New York City. Despite being extremely popular as a holiday, it was still not an official national holiday, and it would take decades for it to become one.
It took a presidential act to make Father’s Day a nationally recognized holiday. Richard Nixon was the president who in 1972 made the holiday official to be celebrated on the 3rd Sunday of every June. Since then, millions of families have had the pleasure of celebrating this day and showing fathers how much they are appreciated and loved.