While many people may think that Father’s Day is a holiday created in reaction to Mother’s Day, this sentimental holiday has a far more interesting history and even more fun facts!
Honoring thy father is a concept that dates far back to biblical times.But the day meant to really make dad feel special didn’t go into official effect until 1972. And while Mother’s Day was established officially in 1914 (but widely celebrated before that date), Father’s Day was not met with the same vigor and enthusiasm.
On July 5, 1908, a West Virginia church hosted the nation’s first event explicitly in honor of fathers. During a Sunday sermon, the 362 men who had died in the previous December’s explosions at the Fairmont Coal Company mines in Monongah were honored in a one-time commemoration.
A year later Sonora Smart Dodd, one of six children raised by a widower, tried to create a “Mother’s Day” for fathers, and had success when Washington State held the first statewide Father’s Day on July 19, 1910. In the following years, Presidents like Calvin Coolidge and Woodrow Wilson were both proponents of Father’s Day, but generally American men opposed it.
Why? They felt that it wasn’t a “manly” gesture to shower fathers with presents “likely” bought with their own money, and felt that Father’s Day was another commercialized holiday scam used to boost product sales.
It took President Nixon’s re-election campaign to get an official proclamation signed in 1972 to recognize this day as a federal holiday.
Believe it or not, there is even more you may not know about this paternal holiday. We found some fun, interesting, and informative facts that will impress even dad on Father’s Day.
The First Father’s Day Card
Father’s Day cards go farther back than Hallmark. One of the earliest dates back roughly 4,000 years. Elmesu, a Babylonian youngster, carved a card out of clay to “wish his father good health and long life.”
Father’s Day was originally celebrated in Washington state, but today Father’s Day is celebrated around the world.
This article was originally published on May 30, 2014.