On the 19 of June, 1910, Father’s Day was first observed in the state of Washington. Nevertheless, back then the day didn’t become an official holiday. It happened only in 58 years, in 1972. Let’s look into the history of this holiday and learn interesting facts about it!
Mother’s Day as the beginning of Father’s Day
To understand Father’s Day better, we should first take a look at Mother’s Day, which appeared earlier. This holiday originates from the post-Civil War period, when a lot of peace-and-reconciliation campaigns took place. Mother’s Day was designated to unite the mothers of both Union and Confederate soldiers and to uphold peace.
Mother’s Day became a holiday only in 1908. 45 states started to observe it in 1909 and it was made official by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914. It started to be celebrated on the second Sunday of May to honor American mothers.
Origins of Father’s Day
While the idea to celebrate Mother’s Day was accepted with enthusiasm, the campaign to observe Father’s Day didn’t receive such a huge support. Some people consider that it could be owing to the fact that usually fathers do not to have such a sentimental appeal as mothers do.
Something similar to Father’s Day was first celebrated on the 5-th of July, 1908, when a church in West Virginia held a special ceremony for children to commemorate their fathers who died in a recent mine explosion. However, it didn’t become an annual observance.
In 1909, a woman from Spokane, Washington (whose father raised her and her five siblings alone) started making attempts to establish a day to honor fathers. Eventually, she got support from the local YMCA, government officials and churches. On June 19, 1910, the first Father’s Day was celebrated in Washington and afterwards it slowly extended to other states.
Interestingly, at first, many men disdained the celebration, thinking that it created “sentimental attempts to domesticate manliness” by presenting them the gifts or that it was nothing but a commercial trick to have people buy more products.
Commercialism on Father’s Day
In the 1920s and the 1930s, another campaign took place. It offered to combine Father’s Day and Mother’s Day to create one holiday, called Parents’ Day. Participants of the campaign encouraged people to honor both their parents each year on Mother’s Day. However, this suggestion failed. Partly, it was because retailers struggled to promote goods for men (such as hats, neckties, socks, pipes, etc), which they wanted to be purchased on Father’s Day. Later, as soon as the World War II started, on Father’s Day, people also honored the American men who were fighting in the war.
In 1972, President Richard Nixon proclaimed Father’s Day a national holiday, and finally, everyone began celebrating it. It has been estimated that Americans spend over $1 billion annually on the gifts for Father’s Day.
Indeed, Father’s Day is as important as Mother’s Day, and not only for retailers. How are you going to celebrate it this year?