What's So Special About Father's Day? Really?

Special About Father's Day

Being a dad is harder than people realize. A lot of expectations are put on a father — he’s expected to be stern but kind, compassionate but aloof, the family breadwinner, the disciplinarian, and the problem-solver.  

That’s a lot of pressure for a man to have on his shoulders as he raises his kid, but it’s what fathers face every day. 

Luckily, the expectations for men to be that traditional image of a father are disappearing as involved parenting and stay-at-home parenting is becoming more popular for dads. However, that doesn’t mean that the stress of raising a kid has gone anywhere! 

Fathers and father-figures play such an important role in the rearing of children, but that role often gets overlooked. That’s why Father’s Day is such an important holiday!  

We celebrate Father’s Day to honor the men in our lives who shaped us into who we are today. Our worldview, confidence, and intelligence are all affected by our fathers, or our father-figures, and it’s important that the things they do for us aren’t taken for granted.   

Whether your old man is distant or totally hands-on, the love he feels for you is much greater than you probably think it is. Father’s Day gives you the opportunity to return the favor and show your dad you recognize all the great things he’s done for you. 

Who Created Father’s Day?

Special About Father's Day

It might surprise you that the day devoted to dad-appreciation has a tragic origin story. It was in Fairmont, West Virginia, on December 6, 1907, when 362 men were killed in the Monongah mining disaster. It was the worst mining accident in American history. In that single day, hundreds of fathers died, and about 1,000 children became fatherless.  

It was a tragedy that struck a chord in the Fairmont community, and it inspired a woman, Grace Golden Clayton, to ask her minister father to hold a church service dedicated to the men who died. The service emphasized the importance of fatherhood, and honored those who had died in the mining accident.  

Grace’s church service for fathers wasn’t the only thing that led to our modern-day Father’s Day. Across the country in Spokane, Washington State, a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd came up with the idea for Father’s Day after attending a Mother’s Day church service in 1909.  

Her father had raised 6 kids on his own after his wife died in childbirth, and Sonora felt it was unfair that fathers didn’t have their own day of celebration like mothers did considering all the things fathers did for their families.  

Sonora proposed the idea for Father’s Day to the Spokane Ministerial Association and to the YMCA, and on June 19, 1910, the first Father’s Day was celebrated.  

Many men actually did not support the idea of a Father’s Day holiday. Afterall, Mother’s Day was a very feminine holiday celebrated with flowers and sentimentality. Men didn’t want to be associated with those things. So for a while, Father’s Day celebrations weren’t as wide-spread as Mother’s Day celebrations were.  

However, during the Great Depression, stores started advertising Father’s Day gifts as a way to boost the economy, making the gift-giving aspect of the holiday much more popular. Then during World War 2, when many fathers were away from home, Father’s Day was used to boost men’s morale and show appreciation to the men who protected the country.  

Overtime, Father’s Day became less a day of tradition and sentimentality, and more of a day on which fathers could forget the stress of their lives, relax, and spend time doing things they enjoy.  

Father’s Day didn’t officially become a nationally observed holiday until 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed the Father’s Day proclamation.  

Father’s Day Around the World

Special About Father's Day

The first Father’s Day was celebrated by gift-giving and church services devoted to fatherhood. To honor their fathers, boys wore flowers in their lapels — red flowers honored fathers who were still living, and white honored the dead.  

Today, flowers are not generally a part of Father’s Day celebrations in the US, but the tradition of giving fathers gifts still carries on.  

Father’s Day may have its origins in the US, but many other countries around the world have their own father-honoring holidays. 

In the 18th century in Germany, on the Christian holiday Ascension Day, fathers would be rolled into the town square on carts. The father with the most children would be given a prize — usually food-related. The day was filled with fun and drinking, and that tradition continues today, though has been altered over time.  

Today on Father’s Day, German men take little carts filled with food and beer outdoors where they can get together with their friends. German Father’s Day is often celebrated over a 4-day weekend, giving the men plenty of time to let loose and have fun.  

In Russia, Defender of the Fatherland Day, a military holiday meant to celebrate men who defended the country, acted as Father’s Day. Unofficially, the day is called Men’s Day, and is meant to honor manhood and the men in people’s lives. A separate, official Father’s Day holiday wasn’t decreed in Russia until 2021, and is celebrated by gift-giving and family activities at Father’s Day festivals.  

Thailand’s Father’s Day is held on December 5th, the birthday of Thailand’s King, King Bhumibol Adulyadej. To celebrate, the King gives a speech, and children give Canna lilies to their fathers and father-figures. 

How Should You Celebrate Father’s Day?

Special About Father's Day

Fathers play a significant role in the well-being and development of children — more so than what was believed in the 20th century. Fathers are crucial to the raising of their children!  

It’s unfortunate that fathers are often thought of as the secondary parent to their children because the positive effects they can have on their children’s development are anything but secondary! 

Fathers boost our confidence and act as our first role model in life. They teach us life lessons that we couldn’t live without, and are always there to lift us up when we’re down. There’s no doubt that fathers are one of the most important people in our lives, yet they can be overlooked when it comes to showing our appreciation. Clearly Father’s Day is an important holiday, but how should you celebrate it? 

No matter if you’ve already moved out or still live at home, if you’re wondering how you should celebrate the next Father’s Day, it’s simple — put your dad first! Let him choose how he wants to celebrate. Whether he enjoys a day outdoors packed full of activities, or a day watching movies at home, show your dad you appreciate him by making his day just for him.  

If you aren’t able to visit your dad on Father’s Day, a phone or FaceTime call and a card sent in the mail is good enough. As long as your dad knows you’re thinking of him, he’ll be happy.  

According to a Pew Research study, in 2017, 63% of dads said they spend too little time with their kids, mostly due to work obligations. In general, dads want to spend more time with their kids, but just don’t have the time.  

So, get the most out of weekends, days off, and holidays like Father’s Day to spend time with your dad. He may not show it, but he’ll be beyond grateful. 

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