Was “Dada” the first words babbled out of your mouth as a babe? Whether you consider your Dad Superman or more like Archie Bunker as a father, the time to celebrate his presence in your life is coming this Sunday! Ever wonder how Father’s Day came to be?
There is no doubt that the “father figure” (think Atticus Finch, Bob Cratchit, Otto Frank just to name a few…) can loom larger than life for most of us and Father’s Day is an important day to show our fathers some gratitude for all that they are to us.
Two powerful stories have suggested the origins of Father’s Day as a holiday in the United States. One story is that a young Sonora Dodd thought about the idea of a Father’s Day after hearing a sermon on Mother’s Day in 1910. Sonora held her father in high esteem and thought celebrating fatherhood was as important as celebrating motherhood since Sonora’s mother had died in childbirth leaving the task of raising her and her siblings to her father. A first Father’s Day celebration was held that year in Spokane, Washington.
Another story of the origins of Father’s Day sets the initial celebration two years earlier in 1908 when, after 362 men died in mining explosions in the Fairmont Coal Company on December 6, 1907, a church in West Virginia hosted the nation’s first event to honor only fathers.
Whether the holiday was made to complement Mother’s Day or as a way to honor the selfless love, bravery and hard-working efforts of men, the day waxed and waned in popularity and was ultimately dismissed due to its commercialism. But with the flare of a pen on April 24, 1972 then-President Nixon brought new life to Father’s Day when he signed into law the establishment of the third Sunday in June as a national holiday for Dads.
“To have a father – to be a father – is to come very near the heart of life itself. Our identity in name and nature, our roots in home and family, our very standard of manhood – all this and more is the heritage our fathers share with us,” Nixon said. “It is a rich patrimony, one for which adequate thanks can hardly be offered in a lifetime, let alone a single day.”
This Father’s Day, retail businesses expect a record $15.5 billion dollars will be spent honoring Dads. That’s a lot of neckties, tools, sport memorabilia and greeting cards! Quality time spent with dad is also on the top of the list with 48% of spending for 2017 expected to be on events with or for Dad.
Fathers are celebrated in other countries as well, mostly around the same date as the United States and some during other times of the year in parallel with an anniversary or birthday dates of political or religious figures. And, fathers are celebrated in many of the same ways – with gifts, cards and quality time. But, there are three countries where the Father’s Day celebration really stands out…
Looking for a healthy way to spend the day? Fly off to Mexico and run the annual Father’s Day race, Carrera Día del Padre 21K Bosque de Tlalpan which has been held on Father’s Day for the last 31 years. The half marathon is a Mexican tradition with families participating in a number of different races throughout the day. One of the most popular races is, of course, the father and son race. The half marathon is followed by a festival with lots of food and family fun.
In Germany, you may want to keep an eye on Dad on Father’s Day, or Vatertag. German men celebrate Vatertag on the 40th day of Easter (Ascension Day) by pulling wagons full with beer and liquor into the woods hiking and drinking all day. If men aren’t up to the wagon pull then they may just go out for a good old fashion bar crawl. If you are a German son or daughter you just may want put a bow around an extra-large bottle of ibuprofen for the next morning!
Russia celebrates all men, not only fathers, as defenders of the Fatherland. Celebrated in February the holiday was originally a military commemoration. Soldiers are honored along with fathers and women give all of the important men – like brothers, uncles, and friends in their lives – gifts.
Father’s Day is this Sunday, June 18, 2017. Do you have a special Father’s Day memory, tradition or gift idea you would like to share? Let us know!