In Celebration of Fathers: Father’s Day


Father’s Day is a worldwide event. It is a celebration of dad’s and granddad’s, fatherhood, and paternal bonds. Fifty-five countries celebrate Father’s Day every third Sunday in June. Father’s day was believed to be first observed in 1910, conceived as a counterpart to the ever popularizing Mother’s day. Sonora Smart Dodd is credited with the concept, she felt  father’s should be celebrated in equality with mothers. Her father was a Civil War veteran, a hero, and a widow who raised his six children alone.

Dodd’s perseverance on the issue panned out. She, along with help of the Spokane Ministerial Association, gave celebration to fathers for the first time on June 19, 1910. People of the town wore red roses to celebrate their living fathers and white to represent those who passed.

Although Father’s Day had relative success in the small town of Spokane, the holiday was not quick to gain popularity. On the contrary, while Mother’s day was widely accepted and subscribed to, Father’s day was the subject of derision, satire and popular comic relief. It began to garner attention because of the negative image and it was widely seen as a calendar-stuffing holiday.

A move was made to make the holiday a national event and in 1916 when President Woodrow Wilson traveled to Spokane, WA. Congress repealed the presidential decision. President Calvin Coolidge went through the same process; again it was blocked by Congress, who feared the commercialization of the holiday.  It wasn’t until 1966 that President Lyndon Johnson issued a presidential proclamation to honor Father’s Day as the third Sunday of June. Six years later, in 1972. it was signed into national law and officiated as a national holiday by Richard Nixon.

Father’s Day can be characterized as the commercially successful anti-commercial holiday. Because it was frowned upon for many yers before becoming official, it’s early commercial attempts focused on its negative public regard.Products would mock the holiday, make snide remark, which would have been seen as iconoclast in the early years of  Mother’s day. The reverse psychology which was instituted by the National Father’s Day Committee, formed by the Associated Men’s Wear Retailers, compelled consumers to buy these items even through their auto-critical nature. Through their efforts, it has become commonplace to exchange gifts on the holiday.

Father’s Day is celebrated around the world and our team at MyHeritage would like to share how a few of us spend our Father’s Day holiday .

Robert our community manager from the UK says that although Father’s Day was created in the US, it was quickly imported to the UK. Since it occurs on a Sunday, the Brits often take the occaision to combine it with a Sunday roast. Presents are given, the most popular of which are socks, ties, beer and slippers – things every father needs in abundance.

Silvia our community manager in Germany is Portuguese by birth. She says she spends the holiday with her brother and parents in Hamburg. Her father cooks a great meal and she spends the entire day in their company. After dinner, the family is either off to the cinema or to bowl a few games. But, the rule is that “Papi” has to pay for everything!

Josselin, our community manager in France, says that friends and family gather to dine in honor of their  father. The father gets to relax while other organize, cook, clean and prepare gifts. He is litterally the king of the day.

My family in the US celebrates Father’s day perhaps typically, perhaps atypically. My sisters are spread around the country, so it isn’t always easy to convene. We all send a card to my father and those who are in our hometown will go to my father’s and cook a lovely meal. We chat and laugh and cheers a glass of rosé in the hot summer sunset, quietly in his honour.

We would love to know what your traditions are, please let us know what’s like in other countries around the world.

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