Father's Day is a special day to celebrate fathers, fatherhood, and the influence of fathers in society. But even though it seems like we've been celebrating it forever, it's a relatively new holiday. Here are some facts about the history of Father's Day:
- Father's Day is celebrated on the third Sunday in June in many countries around the world (and other days elsewhere).
- On July 5, 1908, Mrs. Grace Golden Clayton observed the first-ever Father's Day in honor of the 210 fathers who had been lost in the Monongah Mining disaster in West Virginia in December, 1907.
- Two years later, Father's Day celebrated on June 19, 1910 through the efforts of Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington who was inspired to create Father's Day after listening to a church sermon about Mother's Day. She wanted to honor fathers like her own, William Smart, a Civil War veteran who single-handedly raised his six kids after his wife died in childbirth.
- The Spokane YMCA endorsed Dodd's idea and helped to spread the word about the first Father's Day.
- Father's Day was originally primarily a religious holiday and was supported by religious leaders.
- A bill to grant Father's Day national recognition was introduced in Congress in 1913, but it didn't pass.
- In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge voiced support for the observance of Father's Day.
- In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson officially proclaimed Father's Day a national holiday.
- In 1972, Richard Nixon signed a law making Father's Day a permanent national holiday.
Nowadays, Father's Day is a lot less about religious observation and more about celebrating the special dad in your life! Somewhere along the line, Father's Day became synonymous with BBQs and buying dad a tie.