Friday, June 15, 2007

How Did Father's Day Come About?

Where did Father’s Day Originate? While there are about seven renditions relating to the origin of Father’s Day, the most widely held version is this:

Father's Day originated through a young girl named Sonora Louise Smart, who lived in Spokane, Washington. Apparently, after listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909, she wondered why fathers weren’t celebrated as well. At 16, Sonora lost her mother in childbirth and her dad, a civil war veteran, raised Sonora and her five siblings. Determined to have Father’s Day recognized as a special day, Sonora finally witnessed the first Father’s Day celebration on June 19, 1910. Subsequently, the idea gained popularity all over the US and thus Father’s Day became a national day of celebration.

In fact, President Woodrow Wilson, noticing the depth to which this day became so popular, approved the idea in 1916. Furthermore, it was President Calvin Coolidge, who also loved this idea, proclaimed Father’s Day as a national celebration in 1924. Interestingly enough, in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation stating the third Sunday in June would be officially declared Father’s Day. It didn’t end there! President Richard Nixon permanently established the observance of Father’s Day in 1972.

What happened to the young girl who started it all? You will be happy to hear that Sonora Smart Dodd was honored at the World’s Fair in Spokane in 1974 for her contribution in making Father’s Day a national day of recognition.

Today, Father’s Day is celebrated around the world; however, not all countries celebrate it on the same day. In fact, in Australia and New Zealand, for example, it is celebrated on the first Sunday of September.

Beginning with an idea and the determination to see it through, Sonora Louise Smart was the catalyst who brought recognition to make Father’s Day a day of celebration. It’s amazing what one person can do, isn’t it?