Brief History of Father’s Day

The first father’s day celebration in the United States happened on June 19, 1910, in Washington. But, it was not until 1972 when it became a nationwide holiday of honoring fathers in the United States. Back then, Father’s day was a holiday that is purely dedicated to honor our fathers and appreciate their unique qualities. Sadly, marketers used the idea to make money by letting people think that they should give something to their fathers to show how much they appreciate them. That is why in this article, we are going to take a look at the brief history of Father’s day so that we could fully understand why this concept was created.

Origin of Father’s Day

First, it is worth mentioning that Mother’s day was the inspiration for Father’s day. Back in the 1860s, an activist named Ann Reeves Jarvis urged a one divided West Virginia town to celebrate “Mother’s Work Days.” Back then, this celebration brought together mothers of Union and Confederate soldiers. But, it was until 1908 when Mother’s day became a commercial holiday. This was all thanks to Jarvis’ daughter, Anna Jarvis because she wanted to honor her mother by making Mother’s day a national holiday. The first celebration of mother’s day was made possible with the help of John Wanamaker department store in Philadelphia because they decided to sponsor a dedicated program for mothers.

The involvement of the John Wanamaker department store allowed other retailers to see the great potential for profit during mother’s day. This is why more and more people got hooked on celebrating the said national holiday right away. Back in 1909, only 45 states in the United States observed the day. Until 1914, President Woodrow Wilson decided to approve a resolution that states that every second Sunday of May should be the day to honor the mothers of America.

However, the movement to celebrate the dedication and sacrifices of the nation’s fathers was not met with the same enthusiasm as mother’s day was. This is because some people thought that Father does not have the same sentimental appeal as mothers have. Nevertheless, it did not stop it from happening because, on July 5, 1908, a church in West Virginia decided to sponsor the nation’s first-ever event that exclusively honors fathers. During that day, they held a Sunday sermon in remembrance of the 362 men who died during the Fairmont Coal Company mines during the explosions.

A year after that, a woman from Washington named Sonora Smart Dodd decided to establish an official equivalent to mother’s day, but for fathers. She started by going to the YMCA, local churches, government officials, and shopkeepers to gather enough funds to support her idea. She succeeded, and on June 19, 1910, Washington State celebrated the country’s first statewide Father’s Day. Since then, the holiday spread, and in 1916, President Wilson finally decided to honor the day by using telegraph signals to unfold a flag located in Spokane by pressing a button in Washington D.C. After that, President Calvin Coolidge decided to urge the state governments to observe Father’s Day uniformly.

Today, Father’s day is celebrated in the United States every third Sunday of June. But, in other countries, especially those in Latin America and Europe, father’s day is observed together with St. Joseph’s Day, which is a traditional Catholic holiday that usually falls on March 19.