In the United States, Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday in June. The idea for Father’s Day is attributed to Sonora Dodd, who was raised by her father after her mother’s death during childbirth. While listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909, Dodd thought there should be a day honouring fathers. She wanted a celebration that honoured fathers like her own, William Smart, a Civil War veteran who was left to raise his six children alone.
“I remember everything about him. He was both father and mother to me and my brothers and sisters.”Sonora Dodd
Ellen, the mother of Sonora and a widow herself, had three children from an earlier marriage. In addition, William, Sonora’s father, had been previously widowed before meeting Ellen. From his first marriage to Elizabeth, William had five children who were already adults by the time he found himself a widower for the second time.
Sonora initially suggested June 5, her father’s birthday, but the celebration was pushed to the third Sunday in June due to the need for more preparation time.
The holiday gained traction through the decades, with support from businesses that saw an opportunity to sell products specifically for the day. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge recommended that Father’s Day become a national holiday. However, it wasn’t until 1972, under President Richard Nixon, that Father’s Day was officially recognized as a national holiday.
Father’s Day traditions often involve gift-giving to fathers from their children, as well as activities that the family can enjoy together. Gifts can range from handmade cards and crafts to more extravagant presents like electronics, sporting goods, or personal care items. It’s also common for families to celebrate by enjoying a special meal together, either at home or at a favorite restaurant.
Aside from the commercial aspects, Father’s Day is a time for reflection on the crucial role fathers play in their children’s lives. It’s a day for children and fathers to express mutual love, respect, and appreciation. This day also serves as a reminder of the important influence fathers can have on their children’s development, as they provide guidance, nurture talents, instil values, and offer lifelong support.
In recent years, the day has also been used to acknowledge and celebrate men who may not be biological fathers but fill a paternal role, such as stepfathers, uncles, grandfathers, and male mentors. In this way, Father’s Day celebrates not just fatherhood in the traditional sense, but all forms of paternal influence that contribute positively to the lives of children.
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