A brief history of Father’s Day
Father’s Day was inaugurated in the United States in the early 20th century to complement Mother’s Day in celebrating fathers, father figures, and fatherhood. Father’s Day was founded in Spokane, Washington at the YMCA in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd, who was born in Arkansas. Its first celebration was in the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910.
Her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, was a single parent who raised his six children there. After hearing a sermon about Anna Jarvis’s Mother’s Day at Central Methodist Episcopal Church in 1909, she told her pastor that fathers should have a similar holiday honoring them. Although she initially suggested June 5, her father’s birthday, the pastors of the Spokane Ministerial Alliance did not have enough time to prepare their sermons, and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June.
Cool facts about dads
Average spending on Father’s Day gifts in the U.S. is about $119.84.
The world’s oldest “Father’s Day card” is a 4,000-year-old Babylonian tablet that a young boy named Elmesu carved to wish his father a long life and good health.
The father with the most children is most likely Ismail Ibn Sharif, an Alaouite sultan who fathered 888 children with hundreds of wives and concubines in the late 17th century.
Father seahorses are the only male animals to become pregnant. They accept around 50–1500 eggs from the female, fertilize them, and then carry the eggs for several weeks until they mature.
Chromosomes from the father determine the sex of their offspring. Mothers always pass on an X chromosome to their children; in contrast, a father passes on either an X or Y chromosome.
Wrestling and roughhousing with a father helps shape a child’s brain to help them manage emotion and develop a balance between thinking and physical action.
The word “dad” was first recorded in 1500 but is most likely significantly older. Researchers believe it is derived from a child’s first sounds and is nearly universal. In other languages, the word is tad (Welsh), daid (Irish), tata (Greek), tete (Lithuanian), and tatah (Sanskrit).
Over 87 million cards are sent each year on Father’s Day, making it the 4th most popular day for sending cards and video messages.
In 1972 US president, Richard Nixon signed Father’s Day into law as a permanent national holiday.
So be sure to call your dad on Father’s Day. Or as the founder of Father’s Day Sonora Smart Dodd intended, honor your father in some way. It’s the thought that counts.
If you intend to buy something for your dad or grandfather, check out ElderHealth’s Gift Guide for Father’s Day.