Celebrating dad on the third Sunday in June—Father’s Day—is a mainstream American tradition established early in the last century. People across the country mark the day in any number of ways as the occasion is largely used to acknowledge influential men within families—whether father, uncle, brother or family friend.
Although not officially recognized until the 1970’s, Father’s Day dates back to the first decade of the last century. Among the influences in the development of Father’s Day is a tragic mining accident that occurred in December 1907. In the accident, the town of Monongah, West Virginia lost a large number of its men—many of whom had been fathers. Historical records show the first June celebration of Father’s Day occurred in 1910.
The advent of Mother’s Day, also early in the twentieth century, was another influence on the development of Father’s Day. Taking her inspiration from Anna Jarvis, a critical figure behind developing Mother’s Day celebrations, Sonora Smart Dodd made the push for Father’s Day. For Dodd, raised with her five siblings by a widowed single father, the strength and fortitude offered by dads was deserving of recognition.
Although informally celebrated for years, fathers and father figures weren’t given official recognition in te U.S. until 1972 when President Nixon officially named the third Sunday in June Father’s Day. In other countries around the world, fathers are also recognized through a similar holiday. Dads around the world are likewise celebrated in much the same way as dads in U.S. families—with small gifts and family picnics.