Holiday History: The Story Of Father's Day

Find out the historical evolution of how Dad's Day originated. A guide to conventions, traditions, and gift tips.

For many years, Father's Day presents have commonly included a new tie for dad-- whether he really needs it or not--breakfast in bed, a hug and a kiss, and maybe a homemade card that contained scribbled messages of love, admiration and thanks to dear old dad. It was probably decorated with drawings made with crayons too.

The actual beginnings of Father's Day are rather sketchy, and there are several stories of how this holiday started. While these are considered to be true, probably the most common and widespread story is that the June holiday that is known today as Father's Day is said to have started growing its roots in the year of 1909.

At that time, a woman by the name of Mrs. John B. Dodds, who lived in Spokane, Washington, campaigned for a Father's Day celebration. Her interest in having an organized holiday for fathers was sparked after she heard a church sermon on the virtues of Mother's Day. The sermon reminded Mrs. Dodds about her childhood years, when her mother had passed away while in childbirth with her sixth child. Mrs. Dodds' father, William Smart, who was a veteran of the Civil War, was then left to carry on as both father and mother to the newborn baby and their five other children. With medical doctors being in short supply, and medicine being in just its early stages of development, many women died while giving birth to their babies. It was simply, at that time, a hazard of the effort to bring forth new life onto the earth.

And when Mrs. Dodds thought of her father, who acted as both father and mother, and nurtured and cared for her and her siblings, as well as the other fathers who selflessly gave of themselves to help take care of their own children, as well as provide for them financially too. So, she decided that they all should be honored with a special day all their own. She campaigned and worked to spread her message, and even got the help of friends and family to write letters to influential people who could make this dream happen for her. And, finally, after much hard work and determination, a local celebration was finally proclaimed in the year of 1910. Mrs. Dodds wanted the date of the holiday to be on her father's birthday, which was the fifth of June, but the festivities had to be moved to the nineteenth of June so there would be enough time to prepare.

Eventually, annual celebrations blossomed throughout the United States and Canada, but it wasn't until 1972, when Richard M. Nixon signed a congressional resolution that Father's Day became established. Finally, over sixty years later, after it was first campaigned for, Father's Day was officially established as being celebrated on the third Sunday of every June. And, fathers across the United States finally gained their day to be honored and given cards, gifts, hugs and kisses to.

With the transformation of the American family throughout the years, this holiday was expanded to include honoring not only fathers, but also stepfathers, uncles, grandfathers, guys that act as big brothers, and any other males that have played the father role model in someone's life.

It is also interesting to note, that greeting cards for fathers were originally home made and personalized. Now, there are many card companies that mass produce Father's Day cards every year.

© High Speed Ventures 2011