The Origin Of Father's Day Is Actually Pretty Sweet
There are so many gift-giving occasions throughout the year, people often joke that some of these holidays were dreamed up by greeting card companies to drum up business. That, however, is not the case with a certain June holiday honoring dads. The origin of Father's Day goes back more than a century, and it seems to have started out with a daughter simply wanting to honor her incredibly hard-working parent.
According to the History Channel, Father's Day can be traced back to 1910 when a young woman in Washington state decided that if moms got their own day, dad's needed one, too. (The first Mother's Day had started just a couple years before, in 1908.) Sonora Smart Dodd's father was a widower who raised six children by himself, and his daughter wanted to honor that amazing accomplishment. She gathered community support for the idea by going to places like churches and the local YMCA and talking to local politicians. Her efforts paid off in a big way— Washington marked the first ever Father's Day on June 19, 1910. According to the International Business Times, it's just a coincidence that it follows just a month after Mother's Day— Dodd just picked a day in her father's birthday month.
Some say, however, that Dodd wasn't the first to come up with the idea of celebrating dads. According to the Telegraph, a West Virginia woman named Grace Clayton proposed a day honoring fathers after a mining accident killed more than 300 men, many of whom had families. But the History Channel noted that it was intended to be a one-time event and not a yearly occurrence.
Whoever gets the credit, there's no doubt that the idea took off right away. According to the Independent, in 1913 Congress declared that the third Sunday in June would be known as Father's Day. It took a few decades for it to become law and be a made a permanent national holiday, but that happened in 1972 under Richard Nixon.
This year, the big day falls on June 18, which means you've got plenty of time to shop.