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Father’s Day 2017: How did it start and which countries celebrate it?

Many believe that Sonora Dodd, from Washington, came up with the idea after hearing a Mother’s Day sermon in 1910 and wondering, not unreasonably, why fathers did not have their own day too.

Dodd and her siblings had been raised by their father as a single parent after their mother died in childbirth.

With the local YMCA and the Ministerial Association of Spokane, a city near where she was born, Dodd began a campaign to have the day officially recognised.

The first such “Father’s Day” was held in Spokane in 1910, with a number of towns and cities across America later following suit.

Others say it is Grace Golden Clayton, from Fairmont, West Virginia, who should be credited with the concept of Father’s Day, after she suggested a day celebrating fatherhood in 1908.

She put forward the idea following a mine explosion in a nearby town which killed more than 360 men – arguing that children in the town needed a time to remember their fathers.

 

Mrs Clayton may have been inspired by Anna Jarvis’ work to establish Mother’s Day; two months prior.

Now, the day exists simply to remind everyone that dads are great.

Father’s Day should be a national holiday!

While American presidents unofficially supported the day, it was not until 1966 that it was put on the country’s official calendar by President Lyndon Johnson.

In 1972 it was made a permanent national holiday by President Richard Nixon, though in the UK it does not enjoy this status. Which, of course, is a scandalous oversight.

The move came after a campaign by a number of public figures, including Senator Margaret Chase Smith, who in 1957 wrote to congress: “Either we honour both our parents, mother and father, or let us desist from honouring either one.

“But to single out just one of our two parents and omit the other is the most grievous insult imaginable.”

How is Father’s Day celebrated around the world?

While in the UK fathers can expect, at best, breakfast in bed and handmade card and, at worst, the day to be completely ignored, elsewhere the festival is done a little differently.

In Germany it is called Vatertag (Father’s Day) but is also sometimes known as Männertag (or men’s day).

In certain regions it is traditional for groups of men to go into the woods with a wagon of beer, wines and meats. Heavy drinking is common and, according to official statistics, traffic-related accidents spike on this day.

In China, Father’s Day used to be celebrated on 8 August as the Chinese for eight is “ba”, while a colloquial word for father is “ba-ba” – so the eighth day of the eighth month sounds similar to “daddy”.

The day has since been moved to the third Sunday of June, in line with the UK and US.

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