Why Father’s Day?

Every year on the third Sunday of June, we spend the day paying tribute to our fathers.

Fathers deserve a special day for showing us the way

Celebrated in many countries worldwide, the day is meant to honor and recognize the important contributions and even sacrifices that fathers make on a daily basis. The date may be different in some countries, but the sentiment is the same.

However, this holiday was not always on the calendar. The history of Father’s Day is actually quite interesting and touching. Throughout history, there have been different stories about people paying tribute to their fathers, but the official concept of a special day actually started in the United States in the 1900s. In 1909, a young woman by the name of Sonora Smart Dodd was listening to a Mother’s Day sermon at her church in Spokane, Washington.

Since she had been raised by her father after her mother had passed away, she was struck by the fact that, although mothers had a special day, the same could not be said for fathers. Her father had selflessly raised her and her five other siblings on his own after her mother had died at an early age. She had an unending amount of respect, love, and admiration for her father, who had also served in the Civil War.

Sonora felt that fathers were just as deserving of a special day of recognition as mothers were. She approached her minister about having a special service dedicated to fathers. The following year, the first Father’s Day service took place in her church on June 19th.

In 1924, the third Sunday in June was proclaimed by President Calvin Coolidge as Father’s Day nationwide. The date has been celebrated ever since, and was permanently signed into public law by President Nixon in 1972. Just as was the case with Sonora, we now all celebrate this day in recognition of the love and gratitude that we have for our fathers.

There are many traditions surrounding the day that you might not be aware of. For instance, the tradition of wearing a rose on Father’s Day was started by young members of the YMCA in Spokane, Washington. On June 19, 1910, these young men attended church wearing roses, with a red rose signifying a living father and a white rose paying tribute to one who was deceased.

Just as is the case with Mother’s Day, we often celebrate the day by doing something special for our fathers. Although there is certainly nothing wrong with giving your Dad a beautiful bouquet of flowers, it is far more likely that we give him a more traditionally male-oriented gift. Neckties are an extremely common gift, as are tools and electronics. But Dads are always just as happy with a homemade card drawn by a five-year-old as they are with an expensive gift. A picnic lunch or barbeque in the back yard is also just as welcome as a dinner at a fancy expensive restaurant.

One of the reasons Father’s Day is so much fun is that there is no right or wrong way to celebrate it. Since no two fathers are exactly the same, no two families celebrate the day in exactly the same way. The day provides the perfect opportunity for children to spend some time with their father, doing something that he really enjoys. Fun activities for the day could include a visit to the park, a sporting event, a game of golf, fishing on the banks of the James River, or a family cookout in the back yard.

We hope you are planning a very special day with your father on Father’s Day 2011 – June 19

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