In a world where special days are allocated to be celebrated for special persons, Father’s Day celebration on the third Sunday of June has generated a lot of hype and fervour among people all over the world. Like Mother’s Day it is a day of attributing the love our fathers have bestowed upon us.
The celebration of Father’s Day has a history that can be traced about 4,000 years ago, when a young boy named Elmusu wished his father, who was from Babylon, good health and a long life by carving a Father’s Day message on a card made out of clay. But one knows what happened after that – whether the tradition of observing the day in honouring fathers for their special love and affection towards their children was actually celebrated after that or it slowly lost its charm and faded into oblivion.
However, in countries where the influence of Catholic Church was strong, Father’s Day was observed on St. Joseph’s Day (March 19). But nowadays the celebration that is associated with Father’s Day is the most secular one and is observed in almost all the countries of the world irrespective of religious inclinations.
And the credit for the celebration of the Father’s Day that is observed now should be given to Sonora Dodd, a US citizen, who was deeply moved by Anna Jarvis’s efforts to promote Mother’s Day and wanted to create a similar day for fathers.
Sonora Smart Dodd, a citizen of Arkansas, Spokane, first celebrated Father’s Day on June 19, 1910. She had an emotional story to narrate as her father, a Civil War veteran, William Jackson Smart, was a single parent and after the death of his wife he brought up his six children single-handedly. It was an effort worth appreciation. So she wanted to dedicate a day only for fathers and so after hearing a sermon about Jarvis’s Mother’s Day in 1909, she told her pastors that fathers should have a single day entirely dedicated to them alone. She had initially wanted Father’s Day be declared on June 5, her own father’s birthday, but the pastors were not prepared enough and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June. Hence, there started a legacy that has been carried on for ages by people all across the globe. In between in the 1920s the promotion for Father’s Day faced a brief hiccup when Dodd went to study in the Art Institute of Chicago.
Dodd’s efforts were rewarded. In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. And finally President Nixon, in 1972, established a permanent national observance of Father’s Day to be held on the third Sunday of June.
So Father’s Day evolved as a token of love and gratitude that a daughter/ son cherishes for his/ her beloved father. Roses are the Father’s Day flowers: wear red for a living father and white if someone’s father is no more.
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