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Father’s day


A father with his son by the lake

Father’s Day was inaugurated in the United States in the early 20th century to complement Mother’s Day in celebrating fathers and male parenting.

First observance

Grace Golden Clayton may have been inspired by Anna Jarvis‘ crusade to establish Mother’s Day; two months prior, Jarvis had held a celebration for her dead mother in Grafton, West Virginia, a town about 15 miles (24 km) away from Fairmont.[citation needed]
After the success obtained by Anna Jarvis with the promotion of Mother’s Day in Grafton, West Virginia, the first observance of a “Father’s Day” was held on July 5, 1908, in Fairmont, West Virginia, in the Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South, now known as Central United Methodist Church.[1] Grace Golden Clayton was mourning the loss of her father when, on December 1907, the Monongah Mining Disaster in nearby Monongah killed 361 men, 250 of them fathers, leaving around a thousand fatherless children. Clayton suggested her pastor Robert Thomas Webb to honor all those fathers.[2][3][4][5]
Clayton’s event did not have repercussions outside of Fairmont for several reasons, among them: the city was overwhelmed by other events, the celebration was never promoted outside of the town itself and no proclamation was made in the City Council. Also two events overshadowed this event: the celebration ofIndependence Day July 4, 1908, with 12,000 attendants and several shows including a hot air balloon event, which took over the headlines in the following days, and the death of a 16-year-old girl on July 4. The local church and Council were overwhelmed and they did not even think of promoting the event, and it was not celebrated again for many years. The original sermon was not reproduced in press and it was lost. Finally, Clayton was a quiet person, who never promoted the event or even talked to other persons about it.[3][4][5]

Establishment of holiday

Father and daughter

In 1910, a Father’s Day celebration was held in Spokane, Washington, at the YMCA by Sonora Smart Dodd, who was born inArkansas.[6] Its first celebration was in the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910.[6][7] Her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, was a single parent who raised his six children there.[6] After hearing a sermon about Jarvis’ Mother’s Day in 1909 at Central Methodist Episcopal Church, she told her pastor that fathers should have a similar holiday honoring them.[6]Although she initially suggested June 5, her father’s birthday, the pastors did not have enough time to prepare their sermons, and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June.[1][8] Several local clergymen accepted the idea, and on 19 June 1910, the first Father’s Day, “sermons honoring fathers were presented throughout the city.”[9]
However, in the 1920s, Dodd stopped promoting the celebration because she was studying in the Art Institute of Chicago, and it faded into relative obscurity, even in Spokane.[10] In the 1930s, Dodd returned to Spokane and started promoting the celebration again, raising awareness at a national level.[11] She had the help of those trade groups that would benefit most from the holiday, for example the manufacturers of ties, tobacco pipes, and any traditional present to fathers.[12] By 1938 she had the help of the Father’s Day Council, founded by the New York Associated Men’s Wear Retailers to consolidate and systematize the commercial promotion.[13] Americans resisted the holiday for its first few decades, viewing it as nothing more than an attempt by merchants to replicate the commercial success of Mother’s Day, and newspapers frequently featured cynical and sarcastic attacks and jokes.[14] However, said merchants remained resilient and even incorporated these attacks into their advertisements.[15] By the mid-1980s, the Father’s Council wrote that “(…) [Father’s Day] has become a Second Christmas for all the men’s gift-oriented industries.”[16]
A bill to accord national recognition of the holiday was introduced in Congress in 1913.[17] In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson went to Spokane to speak in a Father’s Day celebration[18] and wanted to make it official, but Congress resisted, fearing that it would become commercialized.[19] US President Calvin Coolidgerecommended in 1924 that the day be observed by the nation, but stopped short of issuing a national proclamation.[18] Two earlier attempts to formally recognize the holiday had been defeated by Congress.[18][20] In 1957, Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith wrote a proposal accusing Congress of ignoring fathers for 40 years while honoring mothers, thus “[singling] out just one of our two parents”.[20] In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day.[19] Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixonsigned it into law in 1972.[18][19][20][21]
In addition to Father’s Day, International Men’s Day is celebrated in many countries on November 19 for men and boys who are not fathers.

Failed attempts at establishing a Father’s Day

In 1911, Jane Addams proposed a city-wide Father’s Day in Chicago, but she was turned down.[8]
In 1912, there was a Father’s Day celebration in Vancouver, Washington, suggested by Methodist pastor J. J. Berringer of the Irvingtom Methodist Church. They believed mistakenly that they had been the first to celebrate such a day.[1] They followed a 1911 suggestion by the Portland Oregonian.[8]
Harry C. Meek, member of Lions Clubs International, claimed that he had first the idea for Father’s Day in 1915.[1][8] Meek claimed that the third Sunday of June was chosen because it was his birthday (it would have been more natural to choose his father’s birthday).[8] The Lions Club has named him “Originator of Father’s Day”.[1] Meek made many efforts to promote Father’s Day and make it an official holiday.[1][8]


In the United States, Dodd used the “Fathers’ Day” spelling on her original petition for the holiday,[6] but the spelling “Father’s Day” was already used in 1913 when a bill was introduced to the U.S. Congress as the first attempt to establish the holiday,[17] and it was still spelled the same way when its creator was commended in 2008 by the U.S. Congress.[22]

Dates around the world

The officially recognized date of Father’s Day varies from country to country. This section lists some significant examples, in order of date of observance.
Gregorian calendar
Occurrence Dates Country
February 23
March 19
 Andorra (Dia del Pare)
 Belgium (Antwerp)
 Italy (Festa del papà)
 Mozambique (Dia do Pai)
 Portugal (Dia do Pai)
 Spain (Día del Padre)
  Switzerland (Canton Ticino)
May 8
Second Sunday of May
May 11, 2014
May 10, 2015
May 8, 2016
Third Sunday of May
May 18, 2014
May 17, 2015
May 15, 2016
May 29, 2014
May 14, 2015
May 5, 2016
First Sunday of June
Jun 1, 2014
Jun 7, 2015
Jun 5, 2016
 Lithuania (Tėvo diena)
June 5
Second Sunday of June
Jun 8, 2014
Jun 14, 2015
Jun 12, 2016
Third Sunday of June
Jun 15, 2014
Jun 21, 2015
Jun 19, 2016
Jun 18, 2017
June 17
June 21
June 22
June 23
Last Sunday of June
Jun 29, 2014
Jun 28, 2015
Jun 26, 2016
Second Sunday of July
Jul 13, 2014
Jul 12, 2015
Jul 10, 2016
Last Sunday of July
Jul 27, 2014
Jul 26, 2015
Jul 31, 2016
August 8
Second Sunday of August
Aug 10, 2014
Aug 9, 2015
Aug 14, 2016
Last Monday of August
Aug 25, 2014
Aug 31, 2015
Aug 29, 2016
First Sunday of September
Sep 7, 2014
Sep 6, 2015
Sep 4, 2016
Second Sunday of September
Sep 14, 2014
Sep 13, 2015
Sep 11, 2016
Third Sunday of September
Sep 21, 2014
Sep 20, 2015
Sep 18, 2016
First Sunday of October
Oct 5, 2014
Oct 4, 2015
Oct 2, 2016
Second Sunday of November
Nov 9, 2014
Nov 8, 2015
Nov 13, 2016
 Estonia (Isadepäev)
 Finland (Isänpäivä)
November 12
December 5
 Thailand (The birthday of King Bhumibol)[40]
December 26
Hindu calendar
Definition Sample dates Country/Territory
(Gokarna Aunsi)
Between 30 August and 30 September
Islamic calendar
Occurrence Sample dates Country/Territory
13 Rajab
April 21, 2016

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