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We all know that every year Father’s Day rolls around, but have you ever stopped and wondered where the day originated? Its counterpart, Mother’s Day, can be dated back hundreds of years but Father’s Day is actually a fairly recent concept.
For many historians, the origins of Father’s Day are attributed to an American woman named Sonora Smart Dodd who publicly recognised the need for a Father’s Day. After hearing a Mother’s Day sermon at her local church, Dodd felt that fatherhood deserved recognition too. This may be in part due to the fact that Dodd lost her mother at 16 and was brought up by her Father with her siblings.
Dodd became very passionate about the need for a Father’s Day and argued that “A Father’s Day would call attention to such constructive teachings from the pulpit as would naturally point out: The Father’s place in the home. The training of children. The safeguarding of the marriage tie. The protection of womanhood and childhood. The meaning of this, whether in the light of religion or of patriotism is so apparent as to need no argument on behalf of such a day.”
So in 1910 on the 19th June (on the 3rd Sunday in June, on which it still falls), Dodd made her way around the town delivering Father’s Day gifts to all Fathers in the city that were too sick to leave their homes. Although it initially did not gain much traction, Dodd persisted and was continuously laughed at for years to come, with no one following her lead. It was not until many many years later in 1957 that US Senator Smith stood up and declared “Congress has been guilty now for 40 years of the worst possible oversight… perpetrated against the gallant Fathers… of our land. As a daughter, as a woman and as a United States Senator, I must say as strongly as I know how, that the conduct of Congress in this regard should cause us to hide our faces in shame… Either we honour both of our parents, Mother and Father, or let us desist from honoring either one. But to single out just one of our two parents and omit the other is the most grievous insult imaginable.” And with a few more good pushes and some time, well a lot of time – it was officially recognised ten or so years later in 1966.
So with the UK/USA Father’s Day fast approaching, landing this Sunday 21st June, it’s time to give thanks to the man who helped raise you and offer some recognition for the years of schooling, parenting and mischief you have put him through!
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