He shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers. Malachi 4:6
Father’s Day is a beautiful festival that acknowledges and appreciates the important role played by a father in raising the child and consequently building a stronger society. Though fathers have been revered at all times by civilizations across the globe ironically what was missing until the last century was the official recognition of the significance of fathers in one’s life. Father’s Day story is the tale of realization of the need for a Father’s Day festival primarily by Ms Sonora Louise Smart Dodd of Washington. The story narrates Sonora’s unflagging struggle to officially set a day to honor all fathers. Thanks to Sonora, today Fathers Day is celebrated in a large number of countries around the world.
The Beginning of Father’s Day Story
Historians have recorded that there was a tradition to celebrate Father’s Day even thousands of years ago. Their studies say that 4,000 years ago in Babylon a son called Elmesu carved a father’s day message on a clay card. In his message Elmesu wished his father a long and healthy life. There is no knowledge as to what happened to this father son duo, but it is believed that several countries retained the custom of celebrating Father’s Day.
Genesis of Father’s Day in Modern Society
The tradition of celebrating Father’s Day as seen today originated in the last century. Though there are several people who are credited for furthering the cause of Father’s Day, there is far greater acceptance for Ms Sonora Louise Smart Dodd’s contribution. A doting daughter from Spokane, Washington, Ms Dodd is recognized as the Founder or Mother of the Father’s Day Festival.
Inception of the Father’s Day took place in Sonora’s mind when she happened to hear a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. Sonora, who was 27 then, had begun to recognize the hardships her father must have gone through while bringing up his six children alone. When Sonora was 16, her mother had died during childbirth. Sonora’s father a Civil War veteran by the name of William Jackson Smart raised six children including the newborn on his own. Sonora questioned that if there is a day to recognize mothers then why is not there a day to honor fathers?
Many people laughed and joked at Sonora’s idea. But her will did not droop. She began a sincere campaign lobbying for the cause of Father’s Day. Her hard work began to show signs of success when Spokane celebrated its first Father’s Day on June 19, 1910 with the support of Spokane Ministerial Association and the local Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). To pay tribute to her affectionate father, Sonora wished that Father’s Day be celebrated on her father’s birthday on June 5, but it so happened that there was not enough time for preparation and the day came to be celebrated on third Sunday in the month of June.
The noble idea of celebrating Father’s Day became quite popular in the U.S., so much so that President Woodrow Wilson approved of the festival in 1916. President Calvin Coolidge too supported the idea but it was President Lyndon Johnson who signed a Presidential Proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day in 1966. Then in 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father’s Day to be held on the third Sunday of June.
Fathers Day Celebration in Present Time
Father’s Day has become a hugely popular festival. World over, people thank their fathers and pay tribute to them.