The idea of honouring your father is one that has been around since ancient times. Treating fathers with respect has always been an important part of societies around the world, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or class.
Some say there is early evidence of a son named Elmesu giving his father a card made from clay, wishing his father a long life and good health, and that this happened 4,000 years ago in Babylon.
However, the most well-known incarnation of what we know today as the holiday called “Father’s Day” is actually quite a relatively recent development. And as with actual fathers, the history of Father’s Day is historically tied to its female counterpart, Mother’s Day.
In the United States, Mother’s Day as an official holiday started in 1908, when a woman named Anna Reeves Jarvis started the campaign to make a national holiday celebrating mothers, in memory of her own mother who had died a few years earlier.
In 1909, a year later, a lady by the name of Sonora Louise Smart Dodd attended a Mother’s Day service at her church.
When Sonora Dodd was 16, her mother passed away while giving birth to her sixth child. Her father, who was a civil war veteran and father, had to raise her and her five brothers on his own.
Raising six children as a single parent is not an easy task today, and doing so over 100 years ago must have been a very difficult one indeed. Sonora Smart Dodd believed that fathers like her own deserved a day to celebrate them as well and started her own campaign to make Father’s Day a holiday as well.
In 1910 Sonora Dodd managed to get the mayor of her town as well as the state governor to officially recognise the holiday and have the date in June, on her father’s birthday. As years went by the holiday spread across the country until 1966 when it was officially made a holiday in the United States. During that time Father’s Day has become celebrated worldwide.
Like Mother’s Day, it’s celebrated on different days in many different countries, but wherever you may be, the idea of Father’s Day is still one of honour, respect and love for all the men who are important providers, protectors and caregivers to families around the world.
Compiled by Yonah Gara
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