Fun Facts about Father’s Day

Following Mother’s Day, This National Holiday Pampers the Man of the House

Copyright © All Rights Reserved; Posted June 7, 2012. Author’s Google profile

A Fathers Day celebration; photo courtesy Kelly Smith


In a strange way to justify their own existence, governments around the world have, over the years, seen fit to proclaim national “holidays”. Not that you will get a day off from work for, say, National Bunion Awareness Day, but some are really nice.

Why, you may ask? Primarily because some of the focal points of these holidays really deserve to be showcased; mothers, grandparents, and fathers among others. So what exactly is the deal with Father’s Day? It must be bigger than a new tie.

On unusual fact about dad’s celebration is its lack of consistency. While the majority of countries (including the USA, the UK, Canada, and Panama, among others) put it on the calendar on the third Sunday of June, other countries pamper dad at other times of the year.

History of the Father’s Day Holiday

You would think that dads were as honored as moms, but you would be wrong. Mother’s Day was conceived as far back as 1914, but fathers didn’t get the official nod as a national “holiday” until 1966 under the eye of President Johnson. (Nixon made it permanent in 1972.)

But what was the real origin? The first idea for this day has been attributed to Ms Sonora Dodd. She was raised by her father following her mother’s demise during childbirth. As she was listening to a sermon at her community church on Mother’s Day, she began to think about all her father had done for her and her siblings and decided fathers should have a day, too.

(Thank you on behalf of us dads.) But since Dodd’s father was born in June, she encouraged churches in her area, which was Spokane, Washington, to honor dads during that month. The original Father’s Day was observed in Spokane in 1910.

But as the years marched on, the basic idea evolved, and people began to lobby Congress to establish the holiday officially. Next, in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson, who had previously signed a proclamation that established Mother’s Day and approved the idea, but never made the move to sign an actual proclamation for it.

But then in 1924, the current President, Calvin Coolidge, decreed it a national event to “establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children and to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations.”

Today, the day has become a real winner in the Hallmark Card stable, but no matter; fathers far and wide relish any opportunity for recognition. I know I do!

Some Holiday Statistics

  • How many fathers do we have across the nation? We currently have about 70.1 million fathers in the US. That’s a LOT of Hallmark cards and ties; do the math.

  • Narrow it down. The number of fathers who were identified as being part of married-couple families that had children younger than age 18 during 2011 was 24.7 million.

  • Stay-at-home dads. This has been an evolving family model (sorry Mrs. Cleaver) and I admit I fall into this category thanks to the wonder of the internet which is my office. It is estimated that married fathers with children younger than the age of 15 that have remained outside of the traditional labor force for at least one year so they can care for their family while their wives labor outside the home. Note that these fathers are estimated to care for upwards of 332,000 children.

A Hybrid Holiday?

In many countries, the day coincides with some other celebration. For example, Denmark, seeking to kill two birds with one stone, pairs it up with Constitution Day. In many predominately Catholic countries, such as Costa Rica, Spain, and Italy, it shares the date with Saint Joseph’s Day.

Russia calls it Defender of the Fatherland Day, which began as a commemoration of the day of the first mass draft into the Red Army as the Russian Civil War was getting underway in 1918. Over the years it has mutated into what is sometimes referred to as “Men’s Day”. That sounds just a bit too clinical.

Iranians celebrate on the 13th of Rajab, which is the birthday of Ali, the First Imam of Shia Muslims. South Korea has a combo package that they call Parent’s Day. Thailand is flexible, it is always scheduled to coincide with the birthday of the current king.

Some Things to Do for Dad

The gift of a tie and a card are very cliché so why not do something a little different this year?

  • Does he have a favorite fruit? Buy a small tree and help him plant it.
  • Box up a small bag of self-lighting charcoal, wood chips, a BBQ apron, and a gift card to his favorite grocery store (or some cash).
  • Frame two photos of dad and kid/s; use one in which the kid/s are as young as possible and the other as they are today.

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