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Father’s Day History and Fun Facts

May 13, 2022

Father’s Day History and 6 Interesting Facts About the Holiday

The origin of Father’s Day is intriguing because it wasn’t appreciated by the male figures it was supposed to celebrate. Instead, it became a joke holiday that went through a lot of different versions of itself to become the beloved holiday we know now.

The Start of Father’s Day

Father’s Day actually had to fight to be considered a holiday. Why? Because men didn’t want to have Father’s Day as a holiday because they found it to be too sentimental and similar to Mother’s Day.

It finally became an official holiday in 1972, 58 years after Mother’s Day became official.

Happy African American Son, Father And Grandfather Bonding Together At Home, Hugging And Posing To Camera While Relaxing On Couch

Father’s Day 1908

The earliest version of Father’s Day was steeped in sadness. It happened in Fairmont, West Virginia, in July after one of the deadliest minings accidents in U.S. history. Hundreds of men died under the rubble.

A daughter of a minister, Grace Golden Clayton, decided to create an event dedicated to all fathers, but most especially the ones who passed away in the accident.

This event never became an annual thing and knowledge of it didn’t leave the state.

Father’s Day 1909

A year later, a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd tried to create a movement for an official Father’s Day holiday. She was inspired by Anna Jarvis, the creator of Mother’s Day. She wanted to honor her father, who raised her and her five siblings alone after her mother died in childbirth.

She went around to churches, shops, and government officials to see if there was interest.

There was! The Spokane Ministerial Association and the local YMCA held a celebration for fathers. Dodd wanted the event on June 5th, her dad’s birthday, but the organizers chose the third Sunday in June, to have more time to prepare after Mother’s Day.

Washington, where Dodd lived, celebrated a statewide version of Father’s Day on June 19, 1910.

The holiday spread across the country and in 1924 became an unofficial official holiday. Though men still didn’t really like the holiday, finding it too commercial and sappy.

Commercialism Helped Create Father’s Day

Father’s Day went through a few different evolutions to become the holiday it is now. During the Great Depression, it was used as a “second Christmas” for men or as a way to show dads they matter despite losing their jobs. Once  World War II started, it was a way to support the country and troops.

Young boy wearing a tie giving a gift to an older man wearing a tie
Man and child at home. Father and kid having fun together. Family holiday concept. Happy Father’s day

Because so many businesses were accepting of the holiday, they were constantly advertising it. This led to it being more commonplace and made it easier for people to accept it as a holiday.

The Final Step

What really helped make Father’s Day an official holiday is a few different presidents. Former Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Calvin Coolidge both publicly celebrated this holiday as a way to boost their ratings among the American people.

Former President Lyndon Johnson officially honored fathers on Father’s Day in 1966, and six years later former President Richard Nixon finally made the holiday official.

Father’s Day Fun Facts

1. A Mockery

Not only was this holiday met with laughter from both men and women, but some also felt that the holiday was making fun of the role of being a father.

2. Most Popular Gift

Ties tend to be the most popular gift for dads on Father’s Day.

3. Flowers for Father’s Day

Roses used to be a big part of the Father’s Day celebration. Red roses represented living fathers, while white roses were for dads that passed away. The roses were pinned to kids’ clothes.

Man hugging young girl and holding a bouquet of pink roses

4. Lots of Dads

There are around 72 million fathers in the U.S. alone.

5. Rise of Single Dads

Around 20% of single parents are dads.

6. Stay-At-Home Fathers

There are around 215,000 stay-at-home dads in the U.S.

Father’s Day Transformation

So originally, men felt that Father’s Day wasn’t masculine enough for them and hated it. Though eventually, the combination of commercialism and presidential approval made the holiday acceptable to American men. Nowadays, it’s unimaginable that people wouldn’t celebrate Father’s Day.

If you need help coming up with ideas for Father’s Day products, make sure you check our selling guide for this holiday.