June 20 marks Father’s Day this year. The day is dedicated to acknowledging and celebrate the insurmountable contribution of fathers in raising children, is observed every year on the third Sunday of June in most parts of the world.
Father’s Day Dates:
While India follows the American date, the date varies in some countries. For Catholic European countries like Portugal, Spain, Croatia, Italy, Father’s Day is celebrated on March 19 which is St. Joseph’s Day. Australia observes it on the first Sunday of September; Norway, Sweden and Finland follow the second Sunday in November. Russia celebrates on February 23.
Father’s Day Origin, History and Significance:
It has been noted that the first Father’s Day was observed on July 5, 1908, in West Virginia after a mining accident in the Monongah, USA, to honour the fathers who lost their lives in the disaster.
However, interestingly, it was Sonora Smart Dodd who is generally credited with the conception of Father’s Day. It is said that in 1910, Sonora, a US resident who was the daughter of American Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, came up with the Father’s Day idea.
Sonora was moved by a church sermon about how Anna Jarvis had founded Mother’s Day in honour of her mother. As a result, she requested the Spokane Ministerial Alliance to celebrate June 5 (her father’s birthday) as a day to honour fatherhood.
Her father William was a single parent from Arkansas who raised six children brilliantly. His dedication, integrity and sacrifices were exemplary for Sonora, and she felt this deep sense of gratitude and need to pay tribute to his fatherhood.
The Church finally settled for the third Sunday of June and that’s how on June 19, 1910, the first Father’s Day was celebrated in Spokane, Washington at the YMCA. Following which, in 1966, President Lyndon B Johnson declared the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day as he signed a presidential proclamation.
Since then, Father’s Day has been celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy. Father’s Day celebration emphasizes the paternal bond, the role of father figure in children’s lives, families, and society at large.