- The Story Behind Halloween – Lesson
- The Story Behind Halloween – Quiz
- Are You Too Old To Go Trick-Or-Treating? – Lesson
- Look out for the Blue Pumpkin – Lesson
- Is the White House Haunted? – Lesson
- Is the White House Haunted? – Quiz
- Mummies Discovered in Egypt – But That’s Nothing to Fear – Lesson
- Salem Witch Trials: When Being Called a Witch Meant Death – Lesson
- Halloween Around the World: It Isn’t Just Costumes and Candy – Lesson
- Halloween Around the World: It Isn’t Just Costumes and Candy – Quiz
- The Evolution of Thanksgiving – Lesson
- The Evolution of Thanksgiving – Quiz
- The Political Roots of Thanksgiving – Lesson
- The Political Roots of Thanksgiving – Quiz
- Turkey for Thanksgiving – But Why? – Lesson
- Turkey for Thanksgiving – But Why? – Quiz
- This Thanksgiving, Consider Helping the Less Fortunate – Lesson
- Good Friday: Christ Carried Sin to the Grave – And Left It There – Lesson
- Good Friday: Christ Carried Sin to the Grave – And Left It There – Quiz
- Easter Traditions: From Rabbits to Egg Jarping – Lesson
- Easter Traditions: From Rabbits to Egg Jarping – Quiz
- Easter Monday and Egg Rolling at the White House – Lesson
- Easter Monday and Egg Rolling at the White House – Quiz
Federal Holidays and Observances
- New Year’s Day: Just as Political as Anything Else – Lesson
- Celebrating Martin Luther King Day – Lesson
- This Presidents’ Day, Let’s Remember the Weird – Lesson
- Astounding Facts about US Presidents – Lesson
- Astounding Facts about US Presidents – Quiz
- Memorial Day: A Time of Honor and Respect – Lesson
- Memorial Day: A Time of Honor and Respect – Quiz
- From Decoration Day to Memorial Day – Lesson
- From Decoration Day to Memorial Day – Quiz
- Who Was the Poppy Lady, Moina Belle Michael? – Lesson
- Who Was the Poppy Lady, Moina Belle Michael? – Quiz
- The Origins of Flag Day – Lesson
- The Origins of Flag Day – Quiz
- America’s Flag – An Evolved Banner for an Ever-Changing Country – Lesson
- America’s Flag – An Evolved Banner for an Ever-Changing Country – Quiz
- Celebrating the 4th of July – Lesson
- Celebrating the 4th of July – Quiz
- Who Should We Thank for Labor Day? – Lesson
- Who Should We Thank for Labor Day? – Quiz
- Constitution and Citizenship Day – Lesson
- Constitution Day – The First Day of Constitution Week – Lesson
- Constitution Day – The First Day of Constitution Week – Quiz
- The Political Origins of Columbus Day – Lesson
- The Political Origins of Columbus Day – Quiz
- Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples’ Day? – Lesson
- Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples’ Day? – Quiz
- Veterans Day: A Day to Honor Those Who Served – Lesson
- Veterans Day: A Day to Honor Those Who Served – Quiz
- Valentine’s Day Love Poems – Lesson
- Love Poems for Valentine’s Day – Lesson
- Who Was St. Valentine? – Lesson
- Who Was St. Valentine? – Quiz
- No Love for Valentine’s Day in the East – Lesson
- No Love for Valentine’s Day in the East – Quiz
- Beware the Ides of March – But Why? – Lesson
- Beware the Ides of March – But Why? – Quiz
- St. Patrick’s Day: A Celebration of the Irish – Lesson
- St. Patrick’s Day: A Celebration of the Irish – Quiz
- May Day: Dancing ‘Round the Maypole – Lesson
- May Day: Dancing ‘Round the Maypole – Quiz
- Cinco de Mayo: Celebrating Mexico’s Victory in Puebla – Lesson
- Cinco de Mayo: Celebrating Mexico’s Victory in Puebla – Quiz
- Mother’s Day: The Anti-War Effort Turned Holiday – Lesson
- Mother’s Day: The Anti-War Effort Turned Holiday – Quiz
- Father’s Day: More Than Just a Day for Ties – Lesson
- Father’s Day: More Than Just a Day for Ties – Quiz
- Presidential Fathers: Responsible for Their Kids and the Country – Lesson
- Presidential Fathers: Responsible for Their Kids and the Country – Quiz
- Proof of the Hanukkah Story Found? – Lesson
- Proof of the Hanukkah Story Found? – Quiz
Father’s Day: More Than Just a Day for Ties – Lesson
A day to honor dad.
Today is Father’s Day: the one time a year set aside to recognize and honor Dad. But it wasn’t always celebrated as it is today, and many men did not want the distinction. Some even considered it foolish. It was many years after Mother’s Day became popular that the idea and tradition of Father’s Day took root in the United States.
Despite American fathers’ reluctance to adopt the holiday, Christian holidays in Europe celebrated fatherhood in their own way for hundreds of years. This was done by celebrating Joseph, the father of Jesus – he is the patron saint of fathers, among other things.
Traditions to Celebrate Fatherhood
Saint Joseph’s Day (also known as the Feast of St. Joseph) is an event held on March 19 by several churches, including the Catholics, Lutherans, and Anglicans. Since the day falls during the time of Lent, the celebrations would not normally include meat, but simple fare like bread or fava beans. In Italy, people would cook with breadcrumbs to resemble the sawdust of Joseph’s profession as a carpenter. This feast day isn’t generally observed in the US, except in New Orleans, where is is more popular due to the high number of Sicilians who migrated and settled there.
Another Christian festival celebrating fatherhood is the Sunday of the Forefathers, observed by the Eastern Orthodox Church. This event is actually part of the church’s nativity celebrations, and it commemorates the ancestors of Jesus.
The Birth of Father’s Day in America
Mother’s Day became a US national holiday in 1914. President Woodrow Wilson called the occasion a way to recognize “that tender, gentle army – the mothers of America.” Men considered it a feminine holiday associated with flowers and sentiment, something they were not interested in for themselves. But the push to give dads a day of honor began after Grace Golden Clayton wanted to show support for her own father, who was a reverend.
Clayton’s father had passed away in 1896, and after a tragic mining explosion that killed more than 360 men and left nearly 1,000 children without a father, she wanted to honor all dads. The first recorded Father’s Day was held during a Sunday service in Fairmont, West Virginia, on July 5, 1908.
However, Clayton is not credited with actually starting the day of honor. That distinction went to Sonora Smart Dodd, who was listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909 and decided it was time to pay tribute to fathers as well. Dodd’s own father was a Civil War veteran who raised his daughter and five sons alone, after his wife died.
Dodd went to the Spokane Ministerial Association and the YMCA, suggesting a special celebration on June 5, her own father’s birthday. The idea had appeal, but the ministers requested a later date set to give them time to prepare, and one that wasn’t so close to Mother’s Day. The first Father’s Day celebration in Spokane was held on June 19, 1910 (the third Sunday) and became a yearly event. Boys from the YMCA joined in the festivities by wearing fresh-cut roses on their lapels – red for living fathers or white for deceased.
President Wilson encouraged a law to celebrate fathers in 1913, but Congress did not pass the bill. In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared the third Sunday in June as a time to honor fathers. Still, it wasn’t until 1972, when President Richard Nixon signed a law declaring the third Sunday as Father’s Day, that it became an official holiday across the nation.
Despite men feeling silly about having a day in their honor, there were some things that helped ease the path to the holiday. The Great Depression saw most families struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table. This was a great excuse to get dad a tie, pair of socks, or some other clothing he may need but wasn’t about to buy for himself. World War II was another inspiration to show respect and support for dads on the front lines.
Father’s Day Around the World
While most countries commemorate Father’s Day in some way, not all celebrate it on the third Sunday in June. Some Catholic countries like Italy and Spain still observe May 19, St. Joseph’s Day, as the date of their local Father’s Day holiday.
Norway, Sweden, and Finland chose the second Sunday in November for the day, while in Australia, Father’s Day is celebrated on the first Sunday in September.
In Taiwan, Father’s Day is the eighth day of the eighth month (August 8) because in Mandarin Chinese, the word for “eight” sounds like “pa.” And in Thailand, locals celebrate on December 5, the birthday of former King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who is seen as “The Father of the Nation.”