History of Father’s Day as seen today is not even a hundred years old. It all started with a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd, of Spokane Washington, who first proposed the idea of “father’s day”. She wanted a special day to honour her father, who was widowed when his wife died during childbirth with their sixth child. Mr Smart was left to raise the new-born and his other five children by himself. After Sonora became an adult, she realized the strength and selflessness her father had shown in raising them as a single parent. The idea of a Father’s Day celebration came to her first while listening to a sermon on Mother’s Day in 1909. Believing that the nation did not show enough respect to fathers, she began campaigning for a national holiday. She persuaded the Spokane Ministerial Association and local YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) to pass a resolution in support of Father’s Day, and the first Father’s Day was observed on June 19, 1910, in Spokane, Washington. She wanted Father’s Day to be celebrated on June 5th, her father’s birthday, but the council selected the third Sunday in June instead. Finally in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father’s Day. In 1972, in the middle of a hard-fought presidential re-election campaign, Richard Nixon signed another proclamation making Father’s Day a federal holiday at last. Today, economists estimate that Americans spend more than $1 billion each year on Father’s Day gifts.
Many countries celebrate the Father’s Day, the majority on the 3rd Sunday of June as in the US but there are some exceptions. For instance, Argentina, Canada, Chile, France, Japan, Netherlands, United Kingdom or obviously the USA celebrate this day on the third Sunday in June. In many countries, where the Catholic Church has had an important influence on the culture, Father’s Day is celebrated on St. Joseph’s Day (March 19) for example in Belgium, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. If you came from one of these countries do not forget to speak to your father.